A living will is a document that allows you to describe your preferences for end-of-life care.
advance directivesinclude legal documentation such as living will, power of attorney, and do not resuscitate (DNR) orders. More specific living wills may include information about a person's desire for such services, such as analgesia (pain relief), antibiotics, hydration, feeding, and the use of respirators or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. A power of attorney for medical or medical care is a type of advance directive in which you name a person to make decisions for you when you are unable to do so.
In some states, this directive may also be referred to as a permanent power of attorney for health care or power of attorney for health care. Most people think that advance directives are something that frail older people need, but anyone over the age of 18 should consider advance directives. The truth is that advance directives are a crucial part of long-term planning for anyone of any age. Life can change in a heartbeat and anyone can suffer a sudden accident or illness.
There are two main types of advance directives: the “living will” and the “durable power of attorney for health care”. There are also hybrid documents that combine elements of the living will with those of the permanent power of attorney. If that is your situation, consider preparing an advance directive using forms for each state and also keep a copy at each location. Cedars-Sinai offers an advance directive booklet at the Plaza Level welcome desk (opposite the Helping Hand gift shop).
You don't need to have an advance directive or living will to have no-resuscitation (ONR) and no-intubate (DNI) orders. The most common types of advance directives are the living will and the durable power of attorney for health care (sometimes referred to as a medical power of attorney). The Department of Public Health is required by law (see Illinois Compiled Statutes - Advance Directive Information Under Laws %26 Rules) to make available to you standard forms for each of these types of advance directives. The first step in creating any of the advance directives listed above is to ensure that they are accurate and legal.
If you cancel or change an advance directive in the future, remember to tell these same people about the change or cancellation. An advance directive gives you a voice in decisions about your health care when you are unconscious or too sick to communicate. In some states, advance care planning includes a document called medical orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST). An advance directive is a document that states, in writing, your choices about the treatments you want or don't want or who will make health care decisions for you if you become disabled and unable to express your wishes.
Fortunately, you have the right to plan and direct the types of medical care you want to receive in the future. Each state has its own unique forms, and some of these forms incorporate several types of advance directives together. For example, it's probably not unusual for someone to say in conversation, “I don't want to go to a nursing home,” but think carefully about whether you want a restriction like that on your advance directive. An ethics consultation can be offered to help determine your goals and values in the absence of an advance directive.
An advance directive allows you to give directions for these types of situations and then change them as you age or if your point of view changes. .
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