New York residents have the option of creating advance directives to outline their health care preferences and designate decision-makers if they become incapacitated. These legal documents empower individuals to maintain control over their medical care. They also give them a chance to express their wishes, even if they are unable to communicate them directly.
Understanding the types of advance directives recognized in New York helps residents make informed decisions about their future medical care.
Health care proxy
A health care proxy, also known as a health care power of attorney, allows people to appoint a trusted person to make health care decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated. A health care proxy can make decisions about medical treatments, procedures and end-of-life care.
A living will is another type of advance directive that allows people to document their preferences for medical treatment in specific situations. In a living will, individuals can outline their wishes regarding life-sustaining treatments, such as ventilator use and resuscitation. This document provides guidance to health care providers and family members about the individual’s desires for medical care if they are unable to communicate their wishes.
The Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form is a medical order that outlines specific treatments and interventions. Unlike a health care proxy or living will, a health care provider works with the patient or his or her decision-maker to complete the form. The MOLST form provides clear instructions for emergency medical personnel and other health care providers regarding the individual’s preferences for life-sustaining treatments.
Advance directives are valuable tools for communicating medical preferences in the event of incapacity. By understanding what advance directives are available, people can take proactive steps to plan for their future medical care. They can also provide clarity for their loved ones during an already difficult time.