What are Advance Directives?
An Advance Health Care Directive (also known as an "Advance Directive") is a form that helps others give you the care you would want when you are not able to make decisions. Advance Directives will help make sure that your wishes about your health care are known. The form tells others how to make end-of-life care choices for you. The form also lets you name someone to act as your health care agent if you are not able to make decisions.
An Advance Directive can be as simple as selecting the name of someone you trust to make health care decisions for you, if you are not able to do so. It can also be very detailed and include the types of treatments you would accept or refuse to continue life. Some types of Advance Directives are only for certain situations, like organ or tissue donation, or your wishes not to be revived if your heart or breathing stops.
The two most common types of Advance Directives are the Living Will and the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, which is sometimes called the Health Care Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy.
Living Will: Explains your health care wishes in the case that you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious.
The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: Allows you to name someone (an "agent" or "proxy") to make your health care decisions if the time comes when you are not able to do so.
You can download your state's Advance Directives form on the Caring Connections website.