You probably have strong opinions about the kinds of medical treatments you want, particularly if you face an end-of-life situation. However, a sudden injury or illness could render you unable to communicate. Fortunately, you may prepare in advance by filling out a living will.
A living will allows you to dictate your health care wishes to doctors in the event you cannot verbally relay your desires. U.S. News and World Report runs down some of the care issues a person can address through this document.
Identify or exclude medical treatments
You may have treatments you prefer to have in certain situations, perhaps because you feel they are more likely to work in your case. Conversely, you may want to forbid medical procedures that could have an adverse effect on you or because you find them morally objectionable.
Specify how to manage pain
Your incapacitated state could leave you in a lot of pain. A living will is a good opportunity to explain how you want your doctors to treat you if you show signs of pain or what procedures to avoid that could worsen your discomfort.
Manage treatments to sustain life
Many people want to make sure doctors will not keep them alive in the event of severe degradation of cognition or ability. For instance, you may decide that you do not want life-sustaining measures if you do not emerge from a coma. Some people only mandate treatment if there is an established cure for their illness or condition.
Donate your organs
If you die but most of your organs remain undamaged, you might want someone else to benefit from them. Through your living will, you can make provisions for how to donate your organs following your death.
A living will provides many chances to address sensitive medical issues. In addition to composing a living will, you may name someone to be your medical power of attorney. These steps could help ensure that doctors understand your medical care wishes even if you cannot communicate them.