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What is an advance directive?

An advance directive lets you make decisions about your future medical treatment. It includes:

  • A written statement about your future health care decisions
  • Legal instructions about your upcoming medical wishes
  • The name of the person who will make medical decisions for you should you become unable to do so for yourself

Advance directives help you communicate your health care preferences. That way your family and doctors won’t have to guess what you want. They can be changed anytime and they never expire.

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Why is an advance directive important?

You or your family members should consider an advance directive to:

  • State your health care choices if or when you are unable to speak for yourself
  • Lessen the burden on loved ones
  • Give you more control over what happens to you during a medical crisis
  • Prevent medical over-treatment or under-treatment
  • Give your loved ones peace of mind
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Medical treatment in your advance directive

When you’re creating an advance directive, you can include instructions about any treatment you want or wish to avoid.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Artificial provisions of nutrition and fluids

Active treatment to fight disease

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  • Can you tell me more about advance directives?

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  • What if I already have an advance directive or declaration?

  • What is the difference between the advance care planning class and the advance directive class?

  • Who should I share my advance directive with?