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Advance Directives (Health Care) « Health Care – General

Advance Directives



Articles, Publications and Resources about Advance Directives
(Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, DNR)


Articles About Advance Directives:

  • Compliance with Advance Directives: Wrongful Living and Tort Law Incentives (SSRN)
    Modern ethical and legal norms generally require that deference be accorded to patients' decisions regarding treatment, including decisions to refuse life-sustaining care, even when patients no longer have the capacity to communicate those decisions to their physicians.
  • Findings Support Value of Advance Directives… (Kaiser Health News – 4/1/10)
    One in four elderly Americans require someone else to make decisions about their medical care at the end of their lives, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • Health Care Advance Directives (video)
    Do you know who will speak for you if you become ill or injured and unable to speak for yourself? Watch this short video about why your planning decisions matter.
  • Many Surgeons Don't Discuss End-of-Life Care (Reuters – 12/16/11)
    Many U.S. surgeons fail to discuss their patients' wishes in case a risky operation goes awry, and even more would not operate if patients limited what could be done to keep them alive, a survey found. Such medical wishes and plans for end-of-life care, called "advance directives," outline what can and cannot be done if patients are unable to decide for themselves. The most famous examples are so-called living wills. But the restrictions are debated among doctors, said the survey, published in the Annals of Surgery.
  • Schiavo Case Brings Living Wills Into Spotlight (WPBF.COM)
    Terri Schiavo didn't have a living will. But because of her, thousands of other Americans won't make that same mistake. Attorneys and organizations that promote the importance of living wills and advance directives say the bitter legal battle over the severely brain damaged woman has led many people to put their end-of-life wishes in writing.

Publications About Advance Directives:

  • Advance Directives Related to use of Palliative Care, Lower Medicare End-of-Life Spending in Many U.S. Regions (U of M Institute of Social Research – 10/4/11)
    People who had completed advance directives stating their preferences for care were less likely to die in a hospital and more likely to receive palliative hospice care than similar decedents without advance directives. “Advance directives may help patients get the care they want if they prefer less aggressive care at the end of life, while also providing cost savings to the Medicare program, particularly in higher-spending regions of the country,” said Lauren Hersch Nicholas, a U-M health economist who is the lead author of the study.
  • Consumer's Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning – 2nd Edition (ABA Commission on Law and Aging)
    If you are looking at this tool kit, you are either thinking of making a health care advance directive (such as a living will or durable power of attorney for health care), or you may have already signed one. In either case, you should be aware that just having a written advance directive by itself does not ensure that your wishes will be understood and respected. Studies have shown that standard advance directive forms do little to influence end-of-life decisions without:  1) informed, thoughtful reflection about your wishes and values, and 2) personal communication between you and your likely decision-makers before a crisis occurs.

Resources for Advance Directives:

  • Health Decisions (American Bar Association)
    The ABA Commission on Law and Aging has published a new booklet offering a simple durable power of attorney for health care, designed to meet the legal requirements in nearly all states.
  • National Healthcare Decisions Day (website)
    Exists to inspire, educate & empower the public & providers about the importance of advance care planning; an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be.
  • New “Bare Bones” Health Care Power of Attorney Is Valid in All but Five States (American Bar Association)
  • The Commission on Law and Aging released a new booklet on October 27 offering a simple durable power of attorney for health care, designed to meet the legal requirements in nearly all states: Giving Someone a Power of Attorney for your Healthcare – A Guide with an Easy-to-Use, Legal Form for All Adults
    The form in this guide is a simple version of a Health Care Advance Directive. It allows you to choose someone to make health care decisions for you if you can’t. If you name a health care agent when you are healthy, you will make sure that someone you trust can make health care decisions for you if you become too ill or injured to make them yourself.