Advanced health care directives are also referred to as advance decisions, living wills, personal directives or advanced directives. They are usually instructions specifying what people wants done in regards to their health if they are unable to make decisions for themselves. Advanced health care directives appoint a person to make those decisions on their behalf.
For instance, a living will leaves instructions for medical treatment. Other forms of advanced health care directives may include a power of attorney, where another person is legally able to make decisions for the incapacitated person. There may even a combination of a living will and a power of attorney at the same time. This is a wise choice, as it offers the best guidance on how to care for the person.
Most U.S. states recognize living wills. Millions of Americans have had to make decisions about end-of-life-care for loved ones. Several states make a living will registry available to those who wish to have their living will on file and more easily accessible for their health care providers. Other states have lost their registry due to low enrollment or funding issues.