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Advance Health Care Directives

An advance health care directive can state a person’s wishes for life-sustaining treatment. It can also name an agent to make medical decisions in the event that a person can no longer make decisions for him or herself. A living will and a medical power of attorney are types of advance health care directives.

An advance health care directive can bring peace of mind to the principal because the principal knows that his or her wishes are documented in the event that loved ones have to make end-of-life decisions. The advance directive can ease the burden on loved ones who are faced with difficult decisions.

Physicians’ orders such as Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) or Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) may also be appropriate for some people in addition to an advance health care directive.

A medical emergency can happen suddenly, and an advance health care directive should be considered as part of a plan at any age.

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