Health Care Directive

A health care directive can also be referred to as a “living will”. This is the document where you can direct your heirs to provide or withhold life-sustaining procedures if you are in a “permanent unconscious condition” or “terminal condition.” Basically, a doctor(s) has determined that you are imminently in the process of dying and to receive life-sustaining procedures would merely prolong that process.

In the health care directive, you use check “yes” or “no” to whether you want artificially provided nutrition and/or hydration and whether you want drugs and other medication for pain. If you do not indicate what you want in this very rare circumstance, then your family will have to agree on what they think you want. Unless you have had in-depth discussions about this with your family, it is unlikely that they will know what you want.

It is important to note that this is not a DNR (do not resuscitate), which should only be signed with the specific advice of your attending physician.