What is a Living Will in New Jersey?
In New Jersey , a Living Will is one part of your Advanced Health Care Directive. It is the instructive directive, in that it provide instruction to your health care professionals regarding what care you permit or reject, and becomes operative when and if you are unable make the decision yourself.
What decisions are made in a Living Will?
An adult may choose whether or not they would like all medically appropriate measures provided to sustain life regardless of physical or mental condition. Alternatively, an adult may identify when and if such measures should be accepted or withheld, deciding, for example if one is terminally ill, permanently unconscious, or having an incurable and irreversible illness, to what extent life sustaining treatment shall be authorized or prohibited. Specific instructions may accompany your living will relating to the type of life sustaining measures permitted.
Finally, anatomical gifts may be addressed within he living will relating to organ, tissue or other parts of body donation. An adult may choose whether or it any or all parts of their body may be gifted upon death, and specific any limitation on the anatomical gift. An adult may also limit the of the gift's purpose or use. For example, one may choose to limit gifts to viable organs to be used for transplant, or offer any needed organ or body part for purpose of transplant, therapy ,medical research or education or any purpose, if needed.
Does a Living Will authorize Termination of Life?
No. A Living Will does not authorize pro-active measures to terminate life. Instead if permits treatment to be withheld. For example, a Living will may preclude the use of a breathing machine or CPR, and authorize only treatment related to comfort.
What if something is not covered in my Living Will?
In addition the the instructive directive, New Jersey recognizes a proxy directive. The instructive and proxy directive, together, complete your Advanced Health Care Directives.
When is the best time for me to Create a Living Will?
Now! It is best to have a Living Will in place before you need one. Once a health care emergency occurs, your family will be left to guess and decide what care you would want. This can create turmoil when there is disagreement or uncertainty surrounding those decisions, and adds emotional burden to an already difficult time.
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