FREE Living Will Forms
There are many sources of free living will forms (otherwise known as Advanced Directives). A Living Will, or Advanced Directive means that you have filled out a form telling others what you'd like the physician to do or not do if you are in no condition to tell them yourself. Everyone close to you or caring for you (family, friends, physicians) should know that one has been filled out!
Typically, people are introduced to them when they are ill and in the hospital. Social workers and/or chaplains will help you fill them out.
Not in the hospital? If you are interested in a living will, they're also easy to find on-line. Should you be interested in filling one out? Why don't you look at the form? Look at the questions asked. Ask your family, your friends, your co-workers. Conversations about "what would you do" or "what should I do" don't cost anything and are often quite eye opening. You don't know how people around you feel about situations unless you talk about them. It's very stressful to get into a situation where no one knows how someone felt beforehand!
Here's one hospital scenario:
A patient goes to the hospital with chest pain. On admission, he's asked if he has a living will. Since he does not, he's asked if he'd like to get information on completing one. The hospital Social worker, Chaplain, or even House Supervisor on night shift is informed that he does.
"I guess I should, in case something goes wrong".
He's told to let family members know once the form is completed and that's that. If something does go wrong and he hasn't talked with them, family members understandably want everything done. The hospital staff may be caught between the patient's wishes and the family's demands.
In this day and age, thankfully, the patient's wishes are written in this legally binding form and most often followed. A physician must 'write the order' to follow the living will when one is brought in by the patient or family. The order shows that the physician is aware, and agrees to abide by their patient's direction of care.
Sometimes a living will, or advanced directive, is completed before coming to the hospital and the family doesn't know about it. Should the patient come to the hospital in critical condition, family's wishes would be followed because no one knew of a living will. One may be found later, too late, after they've been put in a nursing home, for example.
Often, there are multiple members of a family who cannot agree to the course of treatment in a situation where someone cannot make their own health choices. Legally, the spouse is the designated person and often influenced by others wishes rather than what the patient may have wanted because it wasn't discussed.
In my situation, I have no spouse and two daughters who would be the legal decision makers in the event I am unable to make my own. The free living will form allowed me to designate two of my nursing friends whom I've had many conversations with about my wishes. My daughters are aware, and know they won't be put in the position to have to make any of those decisions.
Here's the link:
FREE Living Will Forms
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