Advance Care Planning: What You Need to Know About Durable Power of Attorney & Living Will
What is Advance Care Planning?
It is a process to think about, talk about, and plan for a life-threatening illness or end-of-life care.
Why do I need it?
Making decisions about medical care is not always easy—especially now that machines can keep us alive even when there is no hope for recovery. It’s your right to participate and plan for your care. But at some point, you may become unable to make your own healthcare decisions.
An advance directive is a legal document in which you can state your preference about medical care. It gives you a vehicle by which you can give instructions for your future care. It has two parts:
- Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
- Living Will
A Durable Power of Attorney is a document where you can name another person to act as your healthcare agent if you are unable to make medical decisions. A Living Will instructs your healthcare provider to give no life-sustaining treatment if you are near death or are permanently unconscious, without hope of recovery.
Do I need both documents?
It’s a good idea to have both documents because they serve two different purposes. A Durable Power of Attorney takes effect whenever you become unable to make decisions, such as during a surgery or when you become temporarily unconscious. A Living Will takes effect only when there is no hope of recovery.
What do I do to create these documents?
Contact Case Management at Weeks Medical Center at 603-788-5294 for help in creating the documents. You can also obtain more information from the Foundation for Healthy Communities at healthynh.com.