Advanced Health Care Directive
What is an Advanced Health Care Directive (or Living Will)?
Every competent adult has a legal right to accept or refuse medical treatment.
An Advanced Health Care Directive is a document that sets out your preferences for medical treatment. Commonly, it will;
- Set out limitations on treatment you wish to have, although it may indicate that you wish to have full measures to prolong life
- Stipulate medical treatment preferences, including those influenced by religious or other values and beliefs
- Identify circumstances unacceptable to you arising from applying life-sustaining treatment such as artificial respiration
- Identify how far treatment should go when your condition is ‘terminal’, ‘incurable’ or ‘irreversible’ (depending on terminology used in specific forms)
- Nominate a ‘person responsible’ who consults with doctors concerning your wishes when you can’t
- Include other non-medical aspects of care that are important to you during your care.
It’s therefore a good idea to discuss your wishes about future health care with your family and friends (and enduring guardian if you have appointed one). Otherwise, if the time comes that they need to make decisions for you, it may be hard for them to know what you would have wanted. This is called advance care planning.
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