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Elder Planning Isn't Just For The Elderly

What to address in a living will

When a medical emergency arises, a living will gives you control over what happens when you are unable to express your wishes out loud. New York does not have a standard living will outline, but there are a number of areas you may want to address when putting together yours.

Per the American Cancer Society, the living will kicks in when one of two distinct things happen: you either have a terminal illness and are facing the end of your life or you fall into a state of permanent unconsciousness. Even then, two separate health care professionals must agree that you are in a state where you are unable to express your wishes without the living will.  Many people who draft living wills use them to dictate their wishes in the following areas.

With regard to palliative care

Doctors may use pain medicine or similar measures to enhance your comfort if you want them to do so. If you prefer doctors not make efforts to increase your comfort level, you may state as much in the living will.

With regard to organ donation

You may want to donate your organs or body tissues to patients in need or medical science after your death. If so, you may make a note of this when drafting your advanced directive.

With regard to resuscitation

You may also want to use your living will to express whether you want hospital staff members to resuscitate you, should the need call for it. For example, unless you dictate otherwise, doctors may attempt to keep you alive if your heartbeat stops by performing CPR.

You may also use the living will to outline your desires when it comes to whether you want doctors to administer food and drink or use medical equipment to keep you alive, among other determinations.

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