Also known as advance healthcare directive, living will, personal directive, medical directive or advance decision, an advance directive is a legal document in which you specify what actions should be taken for your health if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself due to illness or incapacity. A living will is one form of advance directive, leaving instructions for treatment. Another form is a specific type of power of attorney or health care proxy, in which you authorize someone (an agent) to make decisions on your behalf when you are incapacitated.

Advance directives were created in response to the increasing sophistication and prevalence of medical technology. Understanding the options and working through the paperwork can be confusing. A number of the Sheboygan Internal Medicine Associates staff have extensive training and background and can assist you with advance directives.