An Advanced Directive is a signed document that describes your wishes for your own end of life medical care in the event you are no longer capable of communicating. It is important to remember that you have a legal right to refuse any medical treatment, including treatment that may prolong your life. You also have the right to name another person to make health care decisions for you if you lose the ability to do so.

There are different types of Advanced Directives. If you only wish to declare your decisions concerning life or death procedures, a Living Will is a good choice. A Health Care Directive may be more appropriate if you would like to express your preferences for life-prolonging as well as end-of-life procedures including whether to resuscitate, to initiate or continue dialysis, to discontinue the use of respirators or feeding tubes, to provide pain medications or other treatments.

A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare allows you to designate who you want to make health care decisions for you. Should you become physically or mentally unable to communicate your desires for medical care, having this documentation in place provides your family and doctors the guidance needed to make medical care decisions on your behalf.

It is important that you discuss your end of life wishes with your family. Your Esse Health doctor will ask you about your Advanced Directives.