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Advance Directives

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What are advance directives?

Advance directives are legal documents that state your wishes and plans for medical care. These plans are made ahead of time in case you lose your ability to make decisions for yourself. Advance directives can apply to any medical decision, such as the treatments you want, and if you want to donate organs.

What are the types of advance directives?

There are many types of advance directives, and each state has rules about how to use them. You may choose a combination of any of the following:

Why are advance directives important?

An advance directive helps you control your care. Although spoken wishes may be used, it is better to have your wishes written down. Spoken wishes can be misunderstood, or not followed. Treatments may be given even if you do not want them. An advance directive may make it easier for your family to make difficult choices about your care.

How do I decide what to put in my advance directives?

Where can I find more information?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and treatment options. You must also learn about advance directives and how they are used. Work with your healthcare providers to decide what care will be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.