Writing an Advance Directive
What is an advance directive?
An advance directive is a form that you fill out to describe the kinds of medical care you want to have if something happens to you and you can't speak for yourself. It tells your family and your doctor what to do if you're badly hurt or have a serious illness that keeps you from saying what you want.
What are the different types?
There are two main types of advance directives:
As long as you can still make your own decisions, your advance directive won't be used. You can stop or say "no" to treatment at any time.
How do you write an advance directive?
As you prepare your advance directive, you'll need to follow these four important steps:
You can get the forms in a doctor's office, hospital, law office, state or local office for the aging, senior center, or nursing home. You can also get them online at www.caringinfo.org or by calling 1-800-658-8898.
When you write your advance directive, think about the kinds of treatments that you do or don't want to receive if you get seriously hurt or ill.
Consider whether you want to:
These are tough choices to make, but you don't have to make them alone. Take your time. Share your questions or concerns about what to include in your advance directive with your doctor or nurse, your lawyer, your family, or a friend.
What if you want to change what is in your advance directive?
You can change or cancel your advance directive at any time. Just fill out new forms and get rid of your existing forms. Or you can just let your family, your doctor, and your health care agent know about the change. If you change or create new forms, give everyone an updated copy. Don't just cross out or add new information unless it's only to change your address or phone number.
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