It is strongly recommended that you have a document that carefully sets out what your wishes are for end of life medical care and/or who should make medical decisions if you are unable to decide for yourself. This document, called an Advance Directive, is a form that helps others give you the care you would want when you cannot make health care decisions. It consists of a health care power of attorney and a living will.
- A health care power of attorney names a person who will make decisions for you if you become unable to do so.
- Living wills are written instructions that explain a person's wishes regarding medical procedures that prolong life.
You can benefit from having an Advance Directive at any age. You could have an accident or get sick. You might live with a mental or physical illness that leaves you without the ability to make decisions at times. Without an Advance Directive, those making decisions for you may not know what you want. Worse still, your family and friends could argue over the care you should receive. Or they could disagree about who gets to make decisions for you. Help your family and friends to help you: name an agent and tell your agent and family about your health care wishes.
It is suggested that an advance directive be done in consultation with those involved in carrying out your wishes.
The following links provide the tools, instructions and forms you need to create your advance directive. It is recommended that you complete the toolkit before you read the instructions and fill out the form.
Printed Instruction booklets (including forms) are available from the Utah Medical Association office at 310 East 4500 South, Suite 500. See www.utahmed.org for further information.
An archived web cast describing the new law is available at http://services.tacc.utah.edu/m/show_grouping.php?g=9af1ddef789c16548.