Are you worried about what might happen to you if you become too ill or injured to guide your own medical care? Many people mistakenly believe they can do nothing to participate in their health care in these cases.
All U.S. states have advance directive laws empowering citizens to make medical arrangements while they are still of sound mind and body. Below are two advance directive options available to Rhode Island residents.
Create a living will
A living will allows you to record your wishes for medical care in the event of a terminal illness or serious injury. You can use it to specify treatments you want and do not want if you become too incapacitated to voice your wishes.
Examples of living will provisions include the following:
- Accept or refuse life-sustaining treatments (like assisted breathing)
- Accept or refuse artificial hydration and nutrition (tube feeding, etc.)
- Accept or refuse palliative or comfort care when the end-of-life is near (such as pain medications)
Your living will can also help you inform medical providers whether you want to receive resuscitation if your heart or breathing stops.
Create a health care power of attorney
Another beneficial advance directive is the durable power of attorney for health care. It allows you to appoint someone to make decisions involving your health and medical care when you cannot. You can give your chosen agent specific instructions in the document about the care and treatments you want and do not want if incapacitated.
Can you have both?
You can have both, which will strengthen your protection and help prevent misunderstandings among your medical providers. Having experienced estate planning guidance will help you create advance directives that preserve your autonomy during health care hardships.