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Living Wills - Health Care Directive - Health Care Power of Attorney - Do Not Resuscitate - Five Wishes - Nineteen Wishes - What's The Difference?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Louisiana's living will law was passed by the Legislature in 1984. It provides that an adult person may make a written declaration regarding the withholding or withdrawal of life support in the event of a terminal and irreversible condition.

There is only ONE FORM that complies with this law. If you have a document that is titled “Five Wishes,” Nineteen Wishes” or some other format, it DOES NOT comply with Louisiana law and may not be followed by the physician or hospital.  The form does allow the designation of person or persons to make such decision for you in the event you are not able to communicate. In that sense it is a “medical power of attorney” but it is limited to termination of life support decisions. It is also sometimes called a “health care directive.”  It should have a designation by you as to whether you want food and water in the event that you have a terminal and irreversible condition.

Every Louisiana resident needs the proper Louisiana form for the living will as well as a general power of attorney for other health care decisions.  The Louisiana living will is not a “do not resuscitate.” That can only be provided by your attending physician. Once provided, it may be recorded with the Louisiana Secretary of State and a bracelet issued indicating that you are not to be resuscitated.

The living will may also be recorded with the Secretary of State and a laminated card provided for you to keep indicating your living will is on file.