Advance directives are specific written instructions to inform others of what type of care would be preferred if a person is critically ill or dying.

There are two types of advance directives:

  • Living Will– A living will records a person’s end-of-life wishes for treatment if they are unable to communicate. If the person is close to death, then this type of will is mainly used for life-prolonging treatment.  This can include resuscitation instructions if the heartbeat or breathing stops, plans for organ donation, and your preference regarding tube feeding or breathing machines. 
  • Healthcare proxies– Healthcare proxies are known as a “durable power of attorney” for healthcare. A person appoints someone to make health decisions for them, which is someone that is trusted.  Healthcare proxies are important if a person wants to appoint someone who is not a legal member of the family.