One way to exercise your rights as a patient is to prepare an Advance Directive. There are two types of Advance Directives, a Living Will and a Health Care Power of Attorney. If you are 18 or older and mentally competent, you have the right to make decisions about your medical treatment. If you want to control decisions about your health care, even if you become unable to make or to express them yourself, you will need an advance directive. An Advance Directive is a form you sign now to direct your future health care if you cannot speak for yourself in the future.
What is a Living Will? A Living Will is a document that tells others your wishes should you become terminally and incurably sick or in a persistent vegetative state from which you will not recover.
Healthcare Power of Attorney:
What is a Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA)? A Health Care Power of Attorney is a document that allows you to designate a person (an "Agent") who will have the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unconscious, mentally incompetent, or otherwise unable to make such decisions.
Should you complete a Living Will and a HCPOA, the Living Will will place limitations on the designated Health Care Agent and their ability to direct decisions regarding your future health care needs in the event you cannot speak for yourself.