Advance directives are documents that allow you to control decisions that need to be made about your healthcare at a time you are not able to make those decisions yourself. There are two main kinds of advance directives: one is called a Natural Death Act Declaration (often called a “living will”) and the other is called a durable power of attorney for healthcare. Through advance directives, patients can make legally enforceable decisions about their medical treatment in situations where they cannot speak for themselves or in end-of-life situations. Kansas law recognizes both a living will and a durable power of attorney for healthcare.
Two common advance directives are:
- A Living Will: A written document expressing your wishes concerning the use of life-sustaining procedures. Two physicians must designate that you are "terminally ill" before a living will becomes effective.
- Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare: A written document that lets you name someone to make your healthcare decisions if you become unable to speak for yourself.
While in the hospital you can ask for forms and help filling them out. You can also get forms and information from Kansas Health Ethics.