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What are advance directives?

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Advance directives are important tools for anyone to have, because even the healthiest person could experience a sudden accident and not be able to speak for herself. But when you have a life-threatening illness, it's particularly critical to make clear, in writing, what your wishes are should the time come when you can't express them yourself.

There are two main types:

  • A living will which spells out your preferences about certain kinds of life-sustaining treatments. For example, you can indicate whether you do or do not want interventions such as cardiac resuscitation, tube feeding, and mechanical respiration.
  • A power of attorney directive names someone that you trust to act as your agent if you are unable to speak for yourself.

From: Advance Directives WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Center to Advance Palliative Care, New York.

Caring Connections, a project of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association, Alexandria, Va.

Aging With Dignity, Tallahassee.

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on February 05, 2018

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SOURCES:

Center to Advance Palliative Care, New York.

Caring Connections, a project of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association, Alexandria, Va.

Aging With Dignity, Tallahassee.

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on February 05, 2018

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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