living will

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living will,

legal document in which a person expresses in advance his or her wishes concerning the use of artificial life supportartificial life support,
systems that use medical technology to aid, support, or replace a vital function of the body that has been seriously damaged. Such techniques include artificial pacemakers, internal defibrillators, dialysis machines (see kidney, artificial), and
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, to be referred to should the person be unable to communicate such wishes at the end of life. A living will usually goes into effect only when two physicians certify that a patient is unable to make medical decisions and that the patient's medical circumstances are within the guidelines specified by the state's living-will law. Typically, living wills are used to direct loved ones and doctors to discontinue life-sustaining measures such as intravenous feeding, mechanical respirators, or cardiopulmonary resuscitationcardiopulmonary resuscitation
(CPR), emergency procedure used to treat victims of cardiac and respiratory arrest. CPR can be done in a hospital with drugs and special equipment or as a first-aid technique.
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 that the patient would reject were he or she able. Without clear and convincing evidence of a person's wishes (such as a living will), life support may be continued indefinitely because of hospital policies, fear of liability, or a doctor's moral beliefs, even if the family believes the patient's wishes would be otherwise. Living wills are often used in conjunction with a health-care proxyhealth-care proxy,
legal document in which a person assigns to another person, usually called an agent or proxy, the authority to make medical decisions in case of incapacitation. It is, in essence, a power of attorney for health care.
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, which authorizes a previously chosen person to make health-care decisions in the event of incapacity. Most states have legislation authorizing living wills. See also euthanasiaeuthanasia
, either painlessly putting to death or failing to prevent death from natural causes in cases of terminal illness or irreversible coma. The term comes from the Greek expression for "good death.
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.

Bibliography

See publications of Choice in Dying.

living will

a document stating that if its author becomes terminally ill, his or her life should not be prolonged by artificial means, such as a life-support machine
References in periodicals archive ?
In contrast, an informal search of PubMed reveals that at least 38 articles on advance directives and end-of-life care have been published during the first 7 months of 2017.
In contrast to advance directives, the POST form has been shown to have much more of an impact on where patients die.
Some regional legal norms set exceptions to being of age and allow certain minors to issue advance directive documents: a mature minor, an aged 16 and above individual who has intellectual and emotional competence to understand the purpose and consequences of the intervention (article 9.
a study conducted by one of these authors (CB and colleague) also found that nurses reported confusion as to what an advance directive actually is, the means of assuring it is a current and valid document and who had primary responsibility for talking with patients about end-of-life issues and securing a valid advance directive.
RN's working in any setting where completion of an advance directive is encouraged or mandatory should a) be very familiar with components of your state's form and the laws that govern that form, b) consider completing their own advance directive so as to have first-hand knowledge of the form and the concept, and c) be able to discuss the importance of completing this form with patients and families.
Advance directives (often called "living wills") give people a way to express their wishes if they become severely ill and unable to make medical decisions for themselves.
Cornelio remembers a case where the patient had made no living will or signed a hospital advance directive, leaving the members of the family irresolute over what treatment to follow.
that the advance directive will only become operative upon the happening
she had to be in the right space"), this experience led to establishing an advance directive policy within the workplace.
Studies show that only about one-third of Americans have completed advance directive forms, and the rate of completion is even lower among minorities and the poor.
The author reports that while participants have identified many known issues with advance directives, one new finding was that a patient hesitated to share her advance directive for fear of physicians prematurely stopping life support.

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