An Advance Healthcare Directive (also known as a living will) allows you to explain to doctors, family, and friends your wishes regarding medical treatment—including difficult end-of-life decisions. If you have a medical condition or injury that is so severe that you are not able to communicate, your loved ones may be in a position where they are asked by medical personnel whether certain treatments should be administered to you. These decisions may include whether to provide pain medication, artificial nutrition or hydration, or a respirator.
Because your advance directive explains your decisions ahead of time, it spares your family and friends the pain of having to make those difficult decisions by allowing your agent to make them for you. Your directive can give your agent the right to provide informed consent for health care decisions, the ability to access your medical records, manage in-home care, or grant authority for medications.
End-of-life decisions are not easy to think about, and few people actually discuss these issues with their closest family or friends. Planning ahead with an Advance Directive gives you the peace of mind that your wishes have been clearly explained, and it will give your loved ones the comfort of knowing that they are making the choices you wanted for yourself.