A living will is a legal document that details your decisions on issues such as pain management, organ donation or medical treatments you would or would not want doctors to use to keep you alive when you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or are in a permanently unconscious state.
In creating your living will, take into consideration your values, the value you place on the quality of life versus the length of life, and under what circumstances you would or would not want your life prolonged. It's important to talk with your primary care doctor, healthcare agent, family and friends, about your personal wishes for:
- Mechanical ventilation
- Tube feeding
- Use of dialysis, antibiotics or antivirals to treat end-of-life infections
- Comfort care (palliative care) to manage pain
- Organ and tissue donation
- Donating your body for scientific study