A living will, also known as an advance healthcare directive or medical directive, is a legal document that outlines your preferences regarding medical treatment and end-of-life care. It allows you to specify the type of medical interventions you would like to receive or avoid if you become unable to communicate or make decisions for yourself.
It can be executed only by an adult who is of a sound and healthy state of mind and in a position to communicate, relate and comprehend the purpose and consequences of executing the document.
The living will need to be in writing, signed by you (the creator of the document), and require attestation of two witnesses and attestation of gazetted officer or a notary to ensure their validity.
The primary purpose of a living will is to guide healthcare professionals and your loved ones in making medical decisions on your behalf when you are incapacitated or unable to express your wishes.
A living will typically address specific medical interventions, such as resuscitation (CPR), mechanical ventilation, artificial nutrition and hydration, pain management, and the use of certain medications. You can state your preferences regarding whether you want these interventions to be utilized or withheld.
A living will may also include information about your personal values and beliefs that can help guide medical decision-making. For example, you may express your desire to prioritize comfort care or focus on quality of life rather than aggressive medical interventions.
It is advisable to review and update your living will periodically or when there are significant changes in your health, personal circumstances, or medical treatment options. This ensures that your document accurately reflects your current wishes.
In the event the executor becomes terminally ill and is undergoing prolonged medical treatment with no hope of recovery and cure of the ailment, the treating physician/hospital, when made aware about the Advance Directive shall constitute a medical board consisting of HOD of treating department and at least three experts with experience in critical care who shall visit the patient and form an opinion to certify or not to certify carrying out the instructions of withdrawal or refusal of further medical treatment.
It is essential to keep your living will in a secure but accessible place and provide copies to your healthcare proxy, family members, and healthcare providers involved in your care. Emergency medical personnel should be informed about the existence and location of your living will.