What is an Advance Directive for Health Care?

An Advance Directive for Health Care is a written legal document which allows you to instruct your attending physician whether or not you wish to be given life-sustaining treatments and artificially administered nutrition (food) and hydration (water) and to give other medical directions that impact the end of life. Its purpose is to recognize your right to control some aspects of your medical care and treatment, primarily the right to decline medical treatment or direct that it be withdrawn even if death ensues. An Advance Directive for Health Care may include a living will, the appointment of a health care proxy (a proxy is a person authorized to act for another) and directions for organ donation.