A living will is a document that you draft while you are mentally sound and competent that states what your intentions are in the event you become unable to make your own medical decisions. It sets your wishes as to what forms of treatment you want and what forms of treatment you do not want in the process of keeping you alive. They can be as general or as specific as you want, but in general you want to at least make it clear which of the more common forms of treatment you want to accept or reject. In addition, you may also wish to name a representative whom you trust and have discussed your wishes with and knows your well enough to make these important medical decisions for you if the situation arises.
Common issues are whether you want to be kept on life support, fed intravenously through a tube, or have blood transfusions performed to keep you alive. It is often wise to address at least these common forms of life extending treatments in your living will. If you have other concerns specific to your health situation, you can discuss that with Mr. Elmer to ensure all of your conerns are addressed in the document.
Health Care Proxy
Also called a durable power of attorney for healthcare, a health care proxy is a document in which you appoint a trusted family member or friend to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to decide for yourself or are unable to express your wishes. The agent that you appoint to act for you in the document will have the authority to make any healthcare decision for you once it is deemed by your healthcare professionals that you are unable to make your own decisions. The document may also state how you would like to be treated in certain circumstances.
It is recommended to have both a living will and health care proxy in effect. These 'heatlh care directives' allow you to tell the world how you want to be treated and who can make decisions for you when you lack the ability to decide for yourself. In the unfortunate event that you are in such poor medical condition that you cannot make these important medical decisions, you want to express as clearly as possible your wishes and what measures you want undertaken to keep you alive. A properly drafted health care proxy will ensure that your health care choices are carried out.