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If a loved one is in poor or failing health, discussions concerning their final wishes can often be uncomfortable for loved ones. However, it is very important that these wishes are carried with respect to the person’s desires.
The subject of living wills and advance directives can be a sensitive one for many families, and rightfully so. Advance directives are explicit written instructions that detail a person’s medical care preferences if they are no longer able to speak for themselves. These directives are prepared in advance of a major health event to ensure a person’s wishes are carried out.
By contrast to an advance directive, the concept of a living will concerns an individual’s ultimate decision when it comes to matters of their final care. It is a written, legal document that discusses what medical treatments are acceptable to a person and which measures they find acceptable to prolong their life if incapacitated. These living wills outline what conditions are acceptable to a person and what conditions are not. Unless affirmed, many children and primary care providers are left in the dark regarding what to do. In a high-pressure, emotionally charged situation such as this, many loved ones are afraid they are making the wrong choice.