A living will basically makes it possible for any person to put his or her health care decisions in writing even if the hospitalization has not occurred yet.
It essentially takes effect as soon as the creator has become too ill or incapacitated to make a rational choice about medical treatment. If you happen to live in the state of Kentucky, then you would definitely need to familiarize yourself with the laws that govern Kentucky living wills.
The Kentucky Living Will Directive Act of 1994 was ratified to make sure that the residents have the right to decide for their own health care, as well as to refuse or accept medications or medical procedures. This right to choose is applicable to treatments that attempt to prolong a person’s life such as ventilators or feeding tubes.
If you live in the state of Kentucky, a living will can basically enable you to leave behind instructions in four crucial areas. You may choose to designate a health care surrogate (patient advocate), request or refuse life-support measures, request or refuse artificial hydration or feeding, and/or convey your wishes with regard to organ or tissue donation.
Any person who is 18 years old and above is fit and qualified to draw up his or her own living will. However, the effectiveness of this legally binding document is normally put on hold during pregnancy.
You don’t necessarily need to have a lawyer to draft a living will. As a matter of fact, the Kentucky Law specifies which form you have to fill out. The only time that you would actually need an attorney is when you have to make some changes to your previous living will.
The state law also forbids family members, heirs, guardians, or health care providers from acting as witnesses to the signing of the document. In lieu of eligible observers, you may request the presence of a Notary Public.
The Kentucky living will form is comprised of two sections. The first one is the Health Care Surrogate portion. This allows you to appoint at least one person to make the decisions on your behalf with regard to health care. Needless to say, this right will only take effect once you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes regarding medical treatment and life-sustaining measures. Your advocate can be a spouse, a son or daughter, a member of your immediate family, a guardian, or a trusted friend.
When selecting a surrogate, keep in mind that the person you appoint will have the power and strength to make crucial decisions about your health care – even if others may push for a totally different direction.
So choose the most qualified person to be your surrogate. You may also want to consider picking out a back-up person in case your first option is not available. Just be sure to notify them in advance and make certain that they understand what’s really important to you.
If you ever decide to draw up a living will, make sure that you have a serious talk about it with your family and your physician. The conversation and the support that you get are just as important as the document itself. Also, be sure to lay out your wishes in the living will as specifically as possible.
Every time you get hospitalized – or if you ever get admitted in a nursing home, you are expected to inform your health care provider about your living will, or the lack of it.
One copy of the legal document should be placed in your medical records so that your attending physician may readily refer to it in case something really bad happens to you. This guideline does not only apply to Kentucky living wills – other states may require it as well.