PalliativeDoctors
Compassionate care at any stage of an illness

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Resources

Legal Documents

To have the best chance of living your last months and weeks as you envision, you need to plan ahead and make sure people know your wishes. This is true for everyone, whether you are healthy, recovering from a serious illness or if you are in hospice care and a cure is out of reach. Your loved ones and doctors will appreciate it, too, because they'll know they are following your wishes.

A number of legal health care documents have been created so that you can specify what you would like. These documents are called "advance directives," because they specify, in advance, what you envision. For instance, do you want to be resuscitated if your heart stops? Do you want a mechanical ventilator (breathing machine) if you are no longer able to breathe on your own? Under what circumstances would you not want resuscitation? These decisions and others are yours to make, but you need to discuss them with your doctors, put them in writing and let your loved ones know your wishes.