From a sudden medical emergency to the slow onset of mental decline, if you become physically or mentally incapacitated, you may not be able to express your wishes to health care providers and loved ones.
While it can be deeply uncomfortable to think about these types of worst-case scenarios, early planning for end-of-life care may help to ensure that family members, friends and physicians understand and respect your medical preferences.
As in most states, in Florida you may use one or more types of advance directives to make your wishes clear in the event that you cannot speak for yourself.
What are advance directives?
Florida law recognizes several types of advance directives, including:
- A living will, in which you may specify what types of medical treatment you do and do not want to receive should you become incapacitated
- A health care surrogate designation naming a trusted agent to make medical decisions on your behalf, if needed, which is also known as ‘health care power of attorney’
- Do not resuscitate orders informing medical providers not to perform CPR or other forms of life-saving resuscitation if you experience cardiac arrest
Can you change the terms of an advance directive?
So long as you are still mentally and physically able, you may change any of the advance directives you have established whenever you wish. In fact, since both advance directive laws and your own medical circumstances are likely to change over time, you may want to revisit your end-of-life plans frequently to prevent potential conflict or confusion down the road.