An advance directive allows you to give instructions to your health care providers and your family on health care decisions about yourself. This includes instructions about the types of treatments you want or don't want to receive if you become incapacitated.
The term advance directive can describe a variety of documents. Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney documents are types of advance directives. The term advance directive may be used to refer to any of these specific documents or all of them in general.
Many of the decisions you or your loved ones face during serious illness often can be eased by preparation. Advance directives forms:
- Help your family and caregivers understand your wishes should you become unable to communicate those yourself and designate someone to make health care decisions for you
- Are legal documents that accurately reflect your decisions and comply with your state's law
- Should be discussed with your family, your physician and other caregivers, and your attorney
- Should be completed, signed and copies given to your family, physician and other caregivers, and your attorney