Health Care Declarations

A Health Care Declaration ensure you have someone to help carry out your health care desires.

You have the right to state your wishes or appoint an agent in writing so that others will know what you want if you can't tell them because of illness or injury. The information that follows tells about health care directives and how to prepare them. It does not give every detail of the law.

What is a Health Care Directive?

A health care directive is a written document that informs other of your wishes about your health care. It allows you to name a person ("agent") to decide for you if you are unable to decide. It also allows you to name an agent if you want someone else to decide for you. You must be at least 18 years old to make a health care directive.

Why Have a Health Care Directive?

A health care directive is important if your attending physician determines you can't communicate your health care choices (because of physical or mental incapacity). It is also important if you wish to have someone else make your health care decisions. In some circumstances, your directive may state that you want someone other than an attending physician to decide when you cannot make your own decisions.

Must I Have a Health Care Directive? What Happens if I Don't Have One?

You don't have to have a health care directive. But, writing one helps to make sure your wishes are followed.You will still receive medical treatment if you don't have a written directive. Health care providers will listen to what people close to you say about your treatment preferences, but the best way to be sure your wishes are followed is to have a health care directive.

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