In Washington state, you have the right to make your own health care decisions.
If you talk with your family now about the care you want should you become seriously ill, your loved ones will know how to carry out your wishes.
A Health Care Directive (also known as a Living Will or Directive to Physicians) and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care can help convey your wishes for future medical care including non-treatment. You may choose to use both.
If you travel, you may want to take copies of your documents with you, as other states may honor these forms.
If you have a serious health condition, you need to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment. The POLST form can be used to represent your wishes as clear and specific medical orders. Your physician may use the POLST form to write orders that indicate what types of life-sustaining treatment you want or do not want at the end of life.
If you lose the ability to communicate and make decisions, Washington state law enables the following people, in order of priority, to make health care decisions for you, including withdrawing or withholding care:
When there is more than one person in a category, such as children, parents, or brothers and sisters, all must agree on the health care decision.
To learn more about end-of-life planning, visit the Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest website.