Law for Older Americans

Health Care Advance Directives

It is a scenario we all dread: you suffer a stroke that leaves you permanently unable to care for your physical needs and, although not unconscious, you are unable to communicate. What would you want done in this situation? Who would you rely on to carry out your wishes?

There are many other possible scenarios. They all point to the need to plan ahead if you want to keep some control over what happens to you. Here are some basic tips and tools.

What is a health care advance directive?

How do you plan a health care advance directive?

Is a health care advance directive the same as a living will?

Why can't I just tell my doctor what I want?

Will doctors and hospitals recognize my advance directive?

What is the Patient Self-Determination Act?

How do you write an advance directive?

What kinds of decisions does a health-care agent make?

How do you select a health-care agent?

Are there any formalities of signing an advance directive?

Can you change or terminate your advance directive?

Where should you keep the directive?

When should you review your advance directive?

Is an advance directive still good when you cross state lines?


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