As this area of law-making is jurisdiction-specific (it matters where you live in terms of the laws that apply to you), this section is written in general terms.
An advance health directive (living will, medical directive are other terms), is a legal document that spells out one’s end of life care wishes should a person become incapacitated and unable to speak for oneself. It is important to understand that a directive of this nature only comes into effect when you can no longer communicate your wishes. In countries other than the Netherlands and Belgium, an advance directive never allows for medical professional to provide euthanasia.
Advance care planning decisions can apply to medical treatment options such as CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), the use of a ventilator (commonly known as being ‘on life support’) and artificial nutrition and hydration (feeding tubes and IV fluids). In the US, the term ‘comfort care’ is also used. This ‘catch-all’ refers to everything else that might be done to ‘make you comfortable’ and which can include medication for pain,