An Advance Directive (sometimes called a Living Will) is a written statement of your wishes to refuse a particular treatment. It may also include the specific situation in which you wish to refuse the treatment. It is a way of making sure that everyone knows what treatment you do not want to have if you are unable to make your own decisions in the future.
Here are examples of situations where an Advance Directive can be used:
- If your illness could not be cured and you became very unwell after all possible treatment, you would not want to be kept alive by being fed or given fluids through a feeding tube or drip.
- If you are being fed or given fluids through a feeding tube or drip, you do not want this to continue if your condition were to worsen and it is not improving your quality of life.
- You do not want to be given antibiotics for an infection if you are only expected to live for a few days.
An Advance Directive cannot include a request to have treatment or to have your life ended.
It is important to be as clear as possible about:
- the circumstances when you would like your Advance Directive to apply
- what type of treatment you would like to refuse.