An Advance Directive lists what kinds of treatment you would want if you were to become seriously ill or unable to make decisions for yourself. This document legally designates someone as your surrogate decision maker, also called a proxy or agent. This person has effective durable power of attorney for your health care decisions. Ethical practices and the law support the right of the patient, or their surrogate, to decide which treatments or procedures they will have — or refuse. These laws and ethics are based on the concept of autonomy. The law that reinforces this concept is called the Patient Self Determination Act (1991). Get your State’s instructions for Advance Directives.

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