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Advance directives give individuals a voice in their medical treatment. An individual can complete documents that define his or her preferences regarding treatment in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to speak for himself or herself. Advance directives empower individuals to choose their care plans and offer family members insight into how their loved one requests to be treated in an emergency or illness. Accordingly, the individual that the writer names as their medical decisions maker in the directive will serve as the writer's "voice," as referred to in the document. The writer can update the form as often as he or she likes. It is important to make sure the most current form reaches the hands of medical providers and the medical decision maker. Each time a new, updated version is circulated, the old version should be destroyed. The Pennsylvania Advance Health Care Directive does not need to be notarized in the state of Pennsylvania.
To learn more about preparing an advance directive for yourself or your loved one, visit our Advance Care Planning website.