What are Advance Directives?
Kentucky law recognizes your right to make choices about your medical care. You have the right to request or refuse treatment and to ask that treatment be stopped. You also have the right to make out an advance directive. An advance directive is a legal document which lets you state your choices about the use of life support machines and medical treatment. An advance directive can also be used to name someone else to make medical choices for you if you become unable to speak for yourself.
Kentucky law recognizes three (3) types of advance directives:
- A Living Will.
- A Designation of Health Care Surrogate.
- A Durable Power of Attorney.
A document which tells the doctor or other health care providers whether or not you want life-prolonging treatments or procedures administered to you if you are in a terminal condition or a permanently unconscious state.
Designation of Health Care Surrogate:
A legal document which allows you (the “grantor”) to appoint another person (the “surrogate”) to make medical decisions if you are temporarily or permanently unable to decide by yourself.
Durable Power of Attorney:
A document which allows you (the “principal” to appoint another person (the “attorney-in-fact”) to make medical decisions for you if you should become temporarily or permanently unable to make those decisions by yourself. The person you choose as your attorney-in-fact does not have to be a lawyer.
If you have questions about advance directives, talk with your doctor and/or lawyer. Chaplains, case managers, nurses and patient representatives at the hospital can also discuss advance directives with you and give you a booklet, called “The Right to Make Informed Decisions”.