New York Health Care Law - A LIVING WILL AND A HEALTH CARE PROXY - Advance Medical Directive

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New York Health Care Law - A Living Will AND A Health Care Proxy


Q. What is the difference between a Living Will and a Health Care Proxy?
 
Although both a Health Care Proxy and a Living Will are advance directives, they are not the same thing.
 
A Living Will is a document that contains your health care wishes and is addressed to unnamed family, friends, hospitals and other health care facilities. You may use a Living Will to specify your wishes about life-prolonging procedures and other end-of-life care so that your specific instructions can be read by your caregivers when you are unable to communicate your wishes.
 
A Health Care Proxy is a person who is named by you to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so. You may give this person (your agent) authority to make decisions for you in all medical situations. Thus, even in medical situations not anticipated by you, your agent can make decisions and ensure you are treated according to your wishes, values and beliefs.
 
Q. Can I choose to sign both a Living Will and a Health Care Proxy?
 
Yes. Some people choose to sign both a Living Will and a Health Care Proxy so that they can leave specific medical instructions in writing and appoint a health care agent to carry them out. Your health care agent can rely on your instructions as guidance to make decisions that reflect your wishes. Remember, you can leave specific instructions about your preferences for care in your Living Will or in the space provided on the Health Care Proxy form itself. You may want to discuss the best course for you with your loved ones, a patient epresentative, your doctor.
 
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