Advance directives explain how you want medical decisions to be made when you're too ill to speak for yourself.
These legal documents tell your family, friends, and health care professionals:
- What kind of health care you want
- Who you want to make decisions for you
Types of advance directives
A health care proxy is a document that names someone you trust to make health decisions if you can’t. This is also called a durable power of attorney.
A living will tells which treatment you want if your life is threatened, including:
- Dialysis and breathing machines
- Resuscitation if you stop breathing or if your heart stops
- Tube feeding
- Organ or tissue donation after you die
How to get advance directives
Get an advance directive from any of these:
- Your health care provider
- Your attorney
- Your local Area Agency on Aging
- Your state health department
What to do with your advance directives
- Keep the original copies of your advance directives where you can easily find them.
- Give a copy to your health care proxy, health care providers, hospital, nursing home, family, and friends.
- Carry a card in your wallet that says you have an advance directive.
- Review your advance directives each year.
Plan for long-term care
Visit LongTermCare.gov for information and resources to help you and your family plan for future long-term care needs.