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Alaska Advance Health Care Directive

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Completing an Advance Health Directive: Your Living Will

Your Living Will

Authored By: Alaska Legal Services - Anchorage LSC Funded
Contents
Advance Health Care Directives - Part 3 Related Resources Advance Health Care Directive - Part 3 Related Resources

Advance Health Care Directives - Part 3

Advance Health Care Directive - Part 3

Instructions for Health Care – Your Living Will

Part 2 of the form contains language frequently referred to as a Living Will. A Living Will is a legal document in which you declare in advance what sort of medical treatment you may or may not want if you have a terminal condition or are in a permanent unconscious state. A Living Will is very different from a Testamentary Will, which only deals with your property and only takes effect after you die.

Your Living Will only goes into effect when you are not able to make decisions yourself. It’s important to know that as long as you are mentally competent to make decisions, you are in charge of your medical care and can over-rule anything that you have written in your advance directive.  

In Sections 6 and 7, you have the opportunity to give specific instructions for any aspect of your end-of-life health care, except you may NOT authorize mercy killing, assisted suicide, or euthanasia.  You may express your wishes regarding various life support treatments, like breathing machines, kidney dialysis, CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation), and blood and water transfusions. You may also provide guidance regarding artificial nutrition and hydration, as well as pain management and relief.  Finally, space is provided for you to write out any additional wishes. If you have questions about any of these sections of the form, you should discuss them with your doctor or other medical provider.

Prolonging Life:

In this section, choose either A to prolong life, or B not to prolong life. If you choose B, not to prolong life, you can also choose under what conditions, (i )or (ii), you do not want to prolong life.

Artificial Nutrition and Hydration (food and water)

Here, you can make choices about taking food and water when you are unable to do so on your own, even if you have chosen to not prolong life. 

The first threecheck boxes describe different circumstances under which you want artificial nutrition and hydration. Check one of these, OR, check the fourth box if you do not want artificial nutrition under any circumstances.  If none of the options listed describes what you want, you can give those instructions in the last box instead.

Relief from Pain

Just like the previous section, you can give directions to receive treatment for pain, even if you do not want treatment to prolong life.

If you are pregnant

If you are pregnant, you may wish to give treatment instructions different from what you would choose if you are not pregnant.  Part E of this section gives space for you to write out any special instructions for this situation.

Other Wishes

If the choices listed in the other sections aren’t exactly what you want, Section 7 lets you write your own instructions. You can give specific directions and you can put conditions or limits on those directions.  If you need more room than the space allows, just attach additional pages.