Q: What is a Living Will?
A: A living will, also called will to live, advance health directive, or medical directive, is a specific type of power of attorney or health care proxy .
Q: How Does it Work?
A: Authorized by state law, this document specifies the life-prolonging measures an individual wants and does not want taken on his/her behalf in the event of a terminal illness. Living Wills are often used in conjunction with a healthcare power of attorney, which appoints someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. The is written when the person is competent in case it is ever needed to show to a judge in order to disconnect life support systems.
Q: What does a Living Will accomplish?
A: A Living Will makes sure your end of life decisions are followed. Living Wills would, for example, inform medical staff not to provide extraordinary life-preserving procedures on you if they are incapable of expressing yourself and you are suffering from an incurable or terminal condition.
Q: What if I am in pain? Will my doctors withhold all medications?
A: A living will does not mean the withholding of pain medications. The whole purpose of completing a living will is so that you can express your wishes for medical treatment and, if the situation warrants, die with dignity. For this reason, pain medication would be provided whenever appropriate to minimize any suffering and make you as comfortable as possible.
Facts About Living Wills or Advance Directives :
Q: Is it legal?
A: It is a legal instrument that usually is witnessed or notarized. A lawyer may be helpful with the completion of these matters, but one is not required.
Q: Who should have copies?
A: Give copies of your advance directive to as many people as you can. In the untimely event of a medical emergency, those closest to you will need to know where the papers are in order to provide them to the medical personnel. Unfortunately, without the legal paperwork, emergency personnel must do everything possible to attempt to revive someone.
Q: What if I change my mind?
A: You can withdraw, revoke, or change your Living Will at any time you choose.