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The importance of a living will

A "refusal of treatment" form from o...

Image via Wikipedia

Although speaking to your loved ones about your wishes when facing an end of life situation can be difficult,it is also very necessary to ensure you recieve the kind of care you want,so too is having a living will.

A living will is a written,legal document that provides directions that are to be followed by caregivers and health care providers in the event that you are unable to give consent or refusal due to incapacity.

A living will can be very specific regarding your desire for pain medication,antibiotics,feeding,hydration,the use of CPR and ventilators.

As well written and direct as a living will may be,it can not possibly cover every situation that you may face,so you may want to consider appointing a health care agent as a medical power of attorney as well.A medical power of attorney will be guided by your living will,but will have the authority to act in your behalf in situations that may not be described in your living will and see that your wishes are carried out.

Choosing someone as your health care agent is possibly the most important part of your planning as this person will have the same rights to accept or deny treatment as you would, if you were capable of doing so.You do not need to appoint a family member as a medical power of attorney and in some instances it may be better to have a non family member if your family is opposed to your wishes.

Speak with your health care agent at length about your wishes and what steps you want taken in an end of life situation.You should trust that your health care agent has your best interests at heart,understands exactly what your wishes are and will act accordingly.

The peace of mind and comfort you will recieve from knowing that your wishes will be honored is well worth the time it may take to prepare a living will.


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