Living wills are written, legal instructions regarding your preferences for medical care if you are unable to give these directions yourself such as if you are terminally ill, seriously injured, in a coma, in the late stages of dementia or near the end of life. By planning ahead, you can get the medical care you want, avoid unnecessary suffering, and relieve caregivers of decision-making burdens during a time of crisis or grief.

Through the living will you spell out medical treatments you would and would not want to be used to keep you alive, as well as other decisions such as pain management or organ donation. In preparing a living will, consideration should be given to how you value being independent and self-sufficient, and what you feel would make your life not worth living.

These are discussions that you should have with your primary care doctor, your health care agent, and other family members that may participate in your health care decisions.

You should address a number of possible end-of-life care decisions in your living will. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about any of these issues:

  • Resuscitation restarts the heart when it has stopped beating.
  • Mechanical ventilation takes over your breathing if you’re unable to do so.
  • Tube feeding supplies the body with nutrients and fluids intravenously or via a tube in the stomach.
  • Dialysis removes waste from your blood and manages fluid levels if your kidneys no longer function.
  • Antibiotics or antiviral medications can be used to treat many infections.
  • Palliative care includes any number of interventions that may be used to keep you comfortable and manage pain, while abiding by your other treatment wishes.
  • Organ and tissue donations for transplantation can be specified in your living will.
  • Donating your body for scientific study also can be specified.

Let our Living Will provide peace of mind by sparing your loved ones from making your end of life decisions.