A living will is a legal document used to communicate one’s wishes about life sustaining treatments and end of life measures in the event of a coma or terminal illness. A living will is sometimes included in a health care power of attorney, but can also stand alone as an independent estate planning document. It is crucial to discuss the decisions made in a living will with whoever is appointed to make decisions on your behalf.
A living will includes direction on the following:
- Cardiac resuscitation.
- Mechanical respiration.
- Artificial or invasive form of nutrition (food).
- Artificial or invasive form of hydration (water).
- Blood or blood products.
- Surgery or invasive diagnostic tests.
- Kidney dialysis.
- Pain medicine that may be addictive.