Legal documents that allow individuals to state what medical treatment they want or do not want in the event that they become incapacitated and unable to express their wishes.
1. Most states have laws that allow the withholding of life-sustaining procedures and honor living wills. These frequently result in a DO NOT RESUSCITATE (DNR) order for a terminally ill individual.
Living Wills - documents that allow individuals to state what measures should or should not be taken to prolong life when their condition is terminal.
2. Durable Power of Attorney (POA) for health care.
a. Document that permits an individual (-principal) to appoint another person (agent) to make any decisions regarding health care if the principal is unable to make decisions.
iii. Spending or withholding funds for health care
iv. Having access to medical records
In 1991 a federal law went into effect that requires all health care facilities receiving any type of federal aid to provide patients with information and assistance in the preparation of advance directives.
Any legal directives must be noted on the patient’s chart or medical records.