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See also: living will.
State legislatures have enacted so-called Death with Dignity Laws to protect the rights of patients to refuse medical care, including life-prolonging and palliative care in terminal illness, as well as to clarify the role of physicians and indemnify them against the accusation of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide when they withhold such care in compliance with patients' wishes. These laws spell out strict procedural requirements, including the need for the signing of an advance directive to be duly witnessed, and make it easier to revoke an advance directive than to establish one. When an advance directive provides instructions for the types of care the patient does or does not want to receive, it is known as a living will. When it names another person to make such decisions, it is known as a durable power-of-attorney for health care decisions. An advance directive can contain both types of instruction. An agent making end-of-life decisions on behalf of a patient is required to follow the patient's instructions, interpreting them when necessary in the light of the patient's personal philosophy, religious beliefs, and ethical values, and with due consideration for the likelihood that the patient will regain competency or will recover.
Advance DirectiveA verbal or written statement or statements by an individual which delineate not only those medical treatments that he/she does not want in the event that he/she becomes incapable of making an informed decision in the future, but also those that he/she finds acceptable.
advance directiveAdvance medical directive, self-determination Medical ethics Instruction(s) that provide a mentally competent person with a
Advance directive types
- Living will,
- in which the person outlines-usually in writing, specific treatment guidelines to be followed by health care providers
- Health care proxy
- Power of attorney for healthcare decision making, proxy to make the health care decisions. The person designates a trusted individual to make medical decisions in the event of inability to make such decisions
ad·vance di·rec·tive(ăd-vans' dĭr-ek'tiv)
Synonym(s): durable power of attorney (1) .