The Living Will Declaration
A Living Will Declaration is a document that you complete while you are able to make health care decisions for yourself. It lets your medical providers know that if you should become permanently unconscious or have a terminal condition and are unable to communicate, that you do not want to have life sustaining treatment. A Living Will gives your physician the authority to allow you to die naturally. Your doctor will continue to provide the care necessary to make you comfortable and relieve your pain.
If you would never choose to limit any form of life sustaining treatment you should not complete a Living Will. Your attorney can draft a special document that states your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment. If you have completed a Durable Power of Attorney your attorney-in-fact could also make your wishes regarding end of life care known to your medical providers.
Regardless of your condition, if you are able to speak and tell your doctor your wishes about life-prolonging treatments, then the Living Will wouldn’t be used. Your doctor will continue to discuss with you with all available medical treatments. You will continue to make health care decisions for yourself as you always have done.
It is important that you inform your family and medical providers that you have completed a Living Will so that your wishes can be honored. Discussions about quality of life concerns and treatment choices are important for everyone even if you decide not to complete a Living Will.
If you would like to complete a Living Will there are pre-printed forms available. You just complete the blank lines and have your signature witnessed. If you are completing your directives in 2005 you must use the new updated version of the forms. Information and forms are available through the Ohio Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. If you have access to the internet they can be reached at www.ohpco.org. Then click on the link to Advance Directives. Some people prefer to consult with their attorney so that their questions and individual preferences can be more fully addressed. If you would like to learn more about Advance Directives or need an Ohio Living Will Declaration or Ohio Health Care Power of Attorney Form please see your CDC Social Worker. They will by happy to assist you.