Health Care Directive and Living Will
Although having a Representation Agreement is the best way of leaving directions concerning your Health Care when you are incapacitated, a Health Care directive and Living Will is a less formal method that has legal effect in BC, but that is not enforceable.
A Health Care Directive is a written statement that expresses your wishes regarding medical treatments and personal care and that specifies which treatments should or should not be taken. It is a document that is complimentary to the Representation agreement. A Health Care Directive provides peace of mind for your relatives when it is time to make difficult decisions. For example, a Health Care Directive may specify that “heroic measures”, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), should not be used to prolong life if the person suffers from a severe, irreversible condition. On the other hand, it may direct that medication should be administered to alleviate suffering in those circumstances.
It is a good idea to update your Health Care Directive from time to time, as technology and science progress and new medical procedures are developed. It is important to ensure that your healthcare decisions are based on current medical practices.
Living Will is your letter to your relatives stating that if they are asked by the health care provider to terminate Life support, it is ok to do so. Living Will is not an enforceable document, so nobody just going to ” pull the plug” , just because you signed this document, but can provide a piece of mind for those that are facing this difficult decision.