Planning for the future
An advance directive is a document that allows you to state your wishes for medical treatment by designating a person (proxy) who will make healthcare decisions for you if you are ever unable to communicate your wishes yourself.
Your advance directive may be used to accept or refuse any procedure or treatment, including life-sustaining treatment. Appointing a healthcare proxy is an important part of planning for your future healthcare needs. Ideally you should discuss your advance directive wishes and questions with your physician, family, clergy and the person you select to be your proxy before you fill out and sign the document.
If you are 18 years of age or older, you can complete your own advance directive. You do not need an attorney to fill it out. Advance directive forms and information are contained in the booklet "Your Rights as a Hospital Patient in New York State." If you do not have one, simply ask your nurse.