Medical Aspects of End of Life Care

There are two legal documents that let you specify, in advance, the medical treatment that you want to receive or do not want to receive if you are facing your death and unable to communicate your wishes. These legal documents are also referred to as your Advance Directive.

A Living Will is a document that tells your heath care team whether you want to receive life-sustaining treatment if you have a terminal illness or are in a persistent vegetative state.

A Durable Medical Power of Attorney is a document that allows you to appoint a person to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. The person whom you appoint (known as your health care surrogate or agent) may participate in medical discussions with your medical team and make an informed decision in accordance with your wishes – or you can provide your surrogate with very specific instructions about the treatments that you want or do not want.