Harvard Men's Health Watch

Make your end-of-life wishes known

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.
To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »