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Advance Directives for Healthcare – What You Need to Know Now

No one wants to consider being incapable of making their own healthcare decisions, but it’s important to reflect on these issues BEFORE a crisis. Doing this ahead of time makes it easier for loved ones who are faced with making tough decisions on your behalf. An advance directive, or living will, is a written record of your wishes concerning medical care, if you become incapacitated.

Making decisions ahead of time requires you to know what treatments are available and what the implications of these treatments are.

Here’s a breakdown of issues covered by Advanced Directives for Healthcare.

Understanding Treatment Options

  • Resuscitation – How much or little aid do you want to maintain your life? If your heart stops, do you want CPR administered? Your preferences may be based on your condition, beliefs, and values, so consider different scenarios to help you determine what’s best for you.
  • Life Sustaining Treatments – Understanding what treatments are available will help you decide what you’re comfortable utilizing. For instance, some life-threatening conditions may necessitate that you be connected to a ventilator to breathe or a feeding tube to absorb nutrition.


Choosing a Healthcare Agent

  • Who will make critical healthcare decisions for you? If you become incapacitated and lose your ability to comprehend or communicate health care choices, it’s important to have a designated person who will represent your wishes. Have an honest conversation about your personal beliefs and values. This may be difficult, but doing this ahead of time makes it easier for your loved ones to make decisions that reflect your wishes


It’s helpful to consider these issues ahead of time. You may want to consult with your doctor or any healthcare professional, family members and/or a trusted friend, or legal counsel who can provide resources and feedback to ensure you feel comfortable with your choices. For more information about having these conversations and to find helpful tools and resources, go to