End-of-life medical planning provides reassurance that a person’s
preferences will be carried out if he or she cannot express them.
It also saves the family and other loved ones from needless
stress and uncertainty over medical decisions. The first step is
to think about what kind of medical care would be acceptable to
sustain life in the case of an accident, worsening chronic
disease, or terminal illness. Then the person must choose a
stand-in called a health care agent to make medical decisions if
and when the ill or injured person cannot. The person should also
create a document to state his or her end-of-life medical
preferences, often called an advance directive or living will.
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