All states have laws that allow us to make future health care treatment decisions now, so that if we become incapacitated and unable to make these decisions later, our family and doctors will know what medical care we want or do not want.

State laws also allow us to appoint a representative to make future health care treatment decisions for us. These laws are called “advance directives” or “health care directives.”

Our constitutional rights to privacy and liberty include the right to make our own medical treatment decisions.

Most people communicate their health care directives by completing forms, such as the Life Care Planning forms, that are tailored to prompt decisions about treatment choices that might be needed. Before you complete these or other health care forms, you should learn and think about what medical treatments you want and/or do not want in the future.

Discuss your choices with your family, loved ones, physician, clergyperson, or trusted advisor. Also consider who you want to appoint to make treatment decisions for you if you no longer can.

Although you cannot anticipate all the medical situations that might arise, you can give guidance to your decision-maker, doctor, and family as to your values and choices, so they can respect your wishes if a time comes when you cannot make or express decisions for yourself.

The State Attorney General offers these forms, at no cost to you.

You do not need to pay or have an attorney to help you complete the forms, but if you have questions about filling them out and want to talk with a lawyer, you can.

Let us know if we can help you with Life Care Planning at your next appointment. We’re glad to help and respect your decisions.

We’ll see you soon at Southwest Medical Center, where your care is our priority, and your care comes first.

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