Importance of advanced directives
“What kind of medical care would you want if you were too ill or hurt to express your wishes,” asked Cheri Holthaus, Community Relations Coordinator for St. Mary’s Hospital.
Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to spell out your decisions about ‘end-of-life’care ahead of time. They give you a way to tell your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals and to avoid confusion later on. 
A living will tells which treatments you want if you are dying or permanently unconscious. You can accept or refuse medical care. You might want to include instructions on
The use of dialysis and breathing machines
If you want to be resuscitated if your breathing or heartbeat stops 
Tube feeding
Organ or tissue donation 
A durable power of attorney for health care is a document that names your health care proxy. Your proxy is someone you trust to make health decisions for you if you are unable to do so. 
You can write an advance directive in several ways:
Use a form provided by your doctor; SMH has forms available for $6.00.
Go on-line at
Call your health department or state department on aging to get a form.
Call a lawyer.
Use a computer software package for legal documents.
Write your wishes down by yourself
“Advance directives and living wills do not have to be complicated documents,” said Holthaus. “They can be short, simple statements about what you want done or not done if you can't speak for yourself. However, I would recommend using a form provided by your health care provider, health or state department or going online to  Remember, anything you write by yourself or with a computer software package should follow our state laws. You may also want to have what you have written reviewed by your doctor or a lawyer to make sure your directives are understood exactly as you intended. When you are satisfied with your directives, the orders should be notarized if possible, and copies should be given to your family and your doctor.”

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