Issues Regarding “Life Sustaining Treatment”

A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions (also known as a “Living Will”) authorizes your agent to make decisions about your care when you are unable to do so.  One of the most important sections of this form pertains to the ability to withdraw “life-sustaining treatment”.

Many people think this phrase pertains to organ replacement and don’t recognize that it also includes artificial nutrition (food) and hydration (water). In Nevada the statutes pertaining to these topics prescribes sample language to be used. The choices available to a person include the expression of a desire to be removed from life-sustaining treatment unless doing so would result in death and/or dehydration.

Obviously, such a death contemplates a painful parting.  However, you should be aware of a specialty known as “hospice care” or “palliative care”.  This type of care is practiced by a medical specialist whose goal is the relief of suffering when further medical treatment is futile or not wanted. Hospice physicians play an important role in understanding the consequences of the implementation of a person’s choices regarding life-sustaining treatment.

Although these issues are incredibly difficult and emotional, it is extremely important to discuss these issues with your physician.  If you have questions about a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions, please do not hesitate to contact our compassionate Las Vegas Estate Planning Attorneys at 702-798-4955.


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