Executing an Advance Directive allows you to put your health care wishes into writing. More specifically, you will decide whether or not you would like life support and tube feeding under certain conditions. There are a number of conditions your advance directive will outline for you in order to make decisions; they are:
- Close to Death. If I am close to death and life support would only postpone the moment of my death;
- Permanently Unconscious. If I am unconscious and it is very unlikely that I will ever become conscious again;
- Advanced Progressive Illness. If I have a progressive illness that will be fatal and is in an advanced stage, and I am consistently and permanently unable to communicate by any means, swallow food and water safely, care for myself and recognize my family and other people, and it is very unlikely that my condition will substantially improve; and
- Extraordinary Suffering. If life support would not help my medical condition and would make me suffer permanent and severe pain.
By executing your Advance Directive, you will decide what type of healthcare treatment you would like if any of the above-named conditions occur. Your decisions will be carried out by the individual you choose to be your Healthcare Representative. Almost anyone can be your healthcare representative, so long as they are willing to do so. There will be a section on your Advance Directive for your Healthcare Representative to sign and accept the position. Once your Healthcare Representative agrees to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated or unable to make your own decisions, they will be bound to follow your directions. They must act in good faith to ensure that your directions are followed and you are treated the way you would like.