Health Care Directives
Control Your Medical Future
Health Care Directives, sometimes called Advanced Directives, includes your Living Will and Health Care Surrogacy (also called Health Care Power of Attorney) and enables you to control your medical care in case you cannot communicate your wishes. We want to make sure your priorities are known and to prevent unwanted medical intervention and prevent family conflict during an emergency.
We discuss your concerns and your legal rights. We give you the appropriate tools to make sure your wishes are followed and your family has the ability to communicate those wishes and to direct your medical care in case you cannot.
Protecting Your Health, Your Family And Your Future
The Right To Decide
Every competent adult has the right to make decisions concerning his or her own health, including the right to choose or refuse medical treatment. When a person becomes unable to make decisions due to a physical or mental change, such as being in a coma or developing dementia (like Alzheimer’s disease), they are considered incapacitated. To make sure that an incapacitated person’s decisions about health care will still be respected, the Florida legislature enacted legislation pertaining to health care advance directives (Chapter 765, Florida Statutes). The law recognizes the right of a competent adult to make an advance directive instructing his or her physician to provide, withhold, or withdraw life-prolonging procedures; to designate another individual to make treatment decisions if the person becomes unable to make his or her own decisions; and/or to indicate the desire to make an anatomical donation after death.
Is a Living Will the Same as a DNR?
Quite often I am asked what is the difference between a Living Will and a Do-Not-Resuscitate Order. Click here for more information.
For more information and to understand how to prepare for your Health Care Directives, please take a look at this guide:
What are Health Care Directives?
Living Will and Health Care Surrogacy
Health Care Directives are the documents prepared to enable your family and loved ones to communicate on your behalf if you are unable to do so. Health Care Directives include documents such as a Living Will and a Health Care Surrogacy.
In Florida, the legislature has specific requirements for the execution and witnessing of advance directives, which should:
- Express your wishes regarding the medical care you want to receive if you are incapacitated and cannot communicate your own desires.
- Empower people you know and trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot make your own decisions.
Designation of a Healthcare Surrogate
In Florida, the person you name to make decisions for you is called your surrogate. Many people call this document a Health Care Power of Attorney
Most people name someone they trust to carry out their wishes such as a spouse, partner, relative, or close friend. The person does not have to be a Florida resident; but should be able to be present in order to carry out your wishes.
Health Care Surrogacy vs Power of Attorney
“The Terri Schiavo Case Alerted Everyone To The Importance Of Making Their Wishes Known About End-Of-Life Health Care Decisions.”