"Courageous care partners recharge with self-care, striving for peaceful pinnacles
in patience, persistence, and positive 
changes, knowing when to conquer and when to comfort."

Who Will Decide IF You Can’t?

Apr 10, 2020 by Eileen Adler

Something happens to the love of your life that is so serious they can’t make medical decisions for themselves . . . what will happen? This is not the time to make these life-altering decisions. Now is the time, before this might happen. It’s called an Advance Medical Directive which is state particular so check out the requirements for your state.


An advance directive is a general term that might include a 

  • living will or instruction directive that includes what treatments you would like in place before the worst-case scenario occurs. 
  • health care proxy or health care power of attorney is the person selected by you who will ensure that your wishes are carried out, but more than one person can be selected.


Once the forms are completed, signed and dated, they will be witnessed, usually by a notary and given to your medical provider. Keep a copy for yourself as well.


These forms may reflect your wishes but if not, make clear what your wishes are. Wishes 1 and 2 are both legal documents.  

Wish 1: If you can’t make health decisions, who would you like to act as your representative?

Wish 2: A living will or end of life directive: what kind of medical treatment do you want? Include what you don’t want done as well. End-of-life decisions you want to make might include using a ventilator (breathing machine), IV fluids, organ donations, feeding tube, or do you want a DNR (do-not-resuscitate order) in place.

Wish 3: How comfortable do you want to be? Pain management, grooming, bathing, hospice care, and palliative/comfort care.

Wish 4: This is more about your spiritual side determining how you would like to be treated.

Wish 5: How would you like to be remembered? What do you want your loved ones to know?

For more information, please look at Advance Care planning: Tips from the National Institute on Aging
and the National Institute on Aging.