Advance Directives

A medical situation can arise without warning. What would happen if you had a serious accident or illness? How would you make sure your wishes about your medical care are known? Having a completed advance directive is the answer.

Advance directives are written instructions that you prepare to help guide your medical care. An advance directive is only used when you cannot make decisions for yourself. By planning in advance, you can get the medical care you desire while relieving loved ones of making major medical decisions during moments of crisis. Start by thinking about your health care goals and values. Consider what is important to you about your medical care if you become seriously ill. Talk with your family and your doctor. Two of the most common advance directives are:

  • Power of Attorney for health care (designates someone to make medical decisions)
  • Living will (provides instructions about medical care desired/not desired)

Many people think advance directives are only for the elderly. However, unexpected end-of-life situations can happen at any age. It’s important for everyone to prepare an advance directive.