What They Are And What They Do
Why do I need advance directives? continued...
Providing your loved ones and caregivers with the information they need to
make medical decisions for you is a great gift. It can spare them emotional
anguish and conflict. Making end-of-life decisions for someone else is
difficult and painful for loved ones and caregivers. You can make those
decisions much easier for your family by talking about your wishes while you
are able to do so.
If your loved ones do not know your preferences, decisions are even harder
to make and serious conflicts can arise between your family and medical
caregivers or within your family itself. Without clear evidence about a
patient's wishes, some care providers will continue treatment, not only because
they are trained to do so, but also to protect themselves from any liability.
Even if your loved ones believe that you would not want a treatment, they might
not be able to stop it without some direction from you depending on the
Remember, it's up to you to take the initiative and express your wishes.
Your family or doctor is not likely to raise the issue for you.