End Of Life Decisions
An advance health care directive is the primary legal tool for protecting a person's healthcare wishes if and when he can't speak for himself. The health care directive applies any time the person is unable to communicate, whether or not the situation is life threatening, and for however long is necessary. Examples are a patient's temporary condition after an incapacitating stroke or his chronic state during the long-term, late stages of Alzheimer's disease.An advance health care directive can set out the person's wishes regarding the specific care he does and doesn't want, and it can appoint someone -- usually a close family member -- to supervise that care or to make decisions for him when he's unable to do so. An advance health care directive would not override the person's direct control over his care as long as he can still speak for himself.
What is an advance health care directive supposed to accomplish?Advance health care directives come in several varieties and go by several names, depending on the state where a person lives. Advance health care directive is the general name for all these documents. Some of the other names for particular documents are advance directive, living will, health care declaration, medical power of attorney, durable power of attorney for health care, and patient advocate designation.