Advance Directives

Advance Directives

More than ever before, individuals and their families are being asked to take part in decisions about end-of-life care.  The majority of people do not discuss end-of-life at all, including the seriously ill.  Hopefully, this fact sheet will provide you with an outline for thinking about these important issues and assist you with discussions with your loved ones as well as their treating physicians and family members.  We have designed this fact sheet so that it will help you understand the legal choices you or a loved one may face in the future.

What are Advance Directives?

Advance Directives are the legal documents, such as durable powers of attorney, living wills, and health care proxies that allow individuals to convey their decisions about their end-of-life care in advance.  These documents afford an individual the opportunity to communicate their wishes to family members, and health care professionals which will avoid confusion in the future, should the individual become unable to do so.   When drafting your Advance Directive you may want to consider the fact that there are many types of life sustaining care such as the following:

Artificial hydration and nutrition

Withholding of food and fluids

Palliative/Comfort Care

Organ and tissue donation

Use of life-sustaining equipment

“Do not resuscitate” order

Once an Advance Directive has been prepared and signed, it can be modified as an individual changes his/her mind or their situation changes.