health care directive

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A health care directive is a written legal document that sets out how a person should be cared for in case of an emergency or incapacity. It indicates a person's preferences for medical care when he or she is unable to make decisions for himself or herself, such as appointed proxies, treatment and unwanted treatment in the event of resuscitation, dementia and life-threatening conditions, etc., to ensure that the individual's medical preferences are respected. This document may have other names, such as health care declaration, living will, advance declaration, or directive to physicians.

[Last updated in April of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]