Living Wills What are They And How Do State And Federal Guidelines Affect Documentation by Healthcare Providers

This essay stresses that the living will can also specify the end-of-life care wishes. Moreover, the living will can include a designation of a surrogate decision maker, a person that will be responsible for making healthcare decisions should the individual become incapacitated. It is of paramount importance to ensure that the designated person and the doctor of an individual will honor all the instructions. Living will legislation covers a variety of topics, including procedures of executing the document, physician certification of illness, or immunity from civil and criminal liability. Most importantly, state law considers any interference with the proper use of directive forms, including unauthorized cancellation, falsification or forgery, as well as withholding knowledge of revocation, as a criminal offence. Medical records need to clearly reflect the decision-making process, as this can be pivotal in the success or failure of legal claims.
This paper makes a conclusion that living will is the most widely available instrument for recording future healthcare-related decisions, and can be prepared by any competent adult concerned about medical treatment should he/she become incapacitated. Healthcare professionals are legally bound to respect ones wishes, as stated in the living will, within the clearly stated boundaries that should be unambiguously explained to the patients. Both federal and state laws regulated issues related to the execution of living wills by healthcare professionals.

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