What is a medical directive?

Medical directive statements are legal documents that allow you to make decisions about your health care in case you are not able to do so at that time. While a person has the right to make their own health care decisions, in some situations they may not have the ability to understand their options or communicate their desires. A medical directive does not take effect upon creation of the document. Rather, it only takes effect after two doctors have conducted an examination on the person in question and have declared him or her unable to understand or communicate. For this reason, it is recommended that people complete a medical directive statement in advance of a medical emergency.

The two most commonly used medical directive statements are living wills and Powers of Attorney for Personal Care.