The Advance Care Directive for Health Care gives the individual many options including signing a simple living will, the appointment of a surrogate decision-maker called a health care proxy and designating organ donation. It also allows a person to direct when and if tube feedings should be withheld when terminally ill or persistently unconscious.
What if I don't have an advance directive?
If you become unable to make treatment decisions and you do not have an advance directive, your close family member(s) will talk to your doctor, and in most cases, may then make decisions on your behalf. However, if your family members, doctor or other caregivers disagree about your medical care, it may be necessary for a court to appoint someone as your legal guardian. (This also may be necessary if you do not have a family member to make decisions on your behalf.) That's why it is important to put your wishes in writing to make it clear who should decide for you and to help your family and doctor know your wishes.