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If you become seriously ill or lose your mental capacity, you will be unable to communicate your health care decisions.
An Advance Health Directive allows you to plan what medical treatment or health care receive in the event that you cannot make decisions yourself. An Advance Health Directive also enables you to appoint an attorney for health matters if you wish.
You should carry a card with you stating that you have an Advance Health Directive, and medical staff can refer to the document when needed. You should give copies of your Advance Health Directive to your doctor and family members.
If you do not have an Advance Health Directive and become so ill you cannot make decisions or speak for yourself, you have no legal way of making your wishes known about health matters.
By preparing an Advance Health Directive you can specify what treatment you receive or importantly, don't receive.
You can express your wishes in a general way. For example, you can state:
You can give specific instructions about the withdrawing of life-sustaining measures in circumstances where:
Examples of life-sustaining measures include: