Advance Medical Directives

The term “Advance Directives” refers to treatment preferences and the designation of a surrogate decision-maker in the event that a person should become unable to make medical decisions on his or her behalf. Advance directives generally fall into three categories: living will, power of attorney, and health care proxy.

A living will is a written document that specifies what types of medical treatment are desired should the individual become incapacitated. A living will can be general or very specific.

Through a durable power of attorney, an individual executes legal documents which provide the power of attorney to others in case of an incapacitating medical condition. The durable power of attorney allows an individual to make bank transactions, sign Social Security checks, apply for disability, or simply write checks to pay the utility bill while an individual is medically incapacitated.

A health care proxy is a legal document in which an individual designates another person to make health care decisions if he or she is rendered incapable of making their wishes known. The health care proxy has, in essence, the same rights to request or refuse treatment that the individual would have if capable of making and communicating decisions.

If you have an Advance Medical Directive (living will) or a medical power of attorney assignment, please inform us. A copy of these documents should be placed in your medical chart.