Advance Directive Information
An Advance Directive, also known as a Health Care Proxy or a Living Will in Massachusetts, promotes and maintains individual autonomy if an individual is unable to make decisions for themselves because of incapacitation. Even though Massachusetts allows for the creation of Health Care Proxy documents, the State does not recognize Living Wills.
Through a Health Care Proxy Form, an individual can appoint a proxy (Legally referred to as an “Agent”) who makes medical decisions on an individual’s behalf if they are incapacitated. Providers and health care facilities are required to abide by an individual’s Agent’s decisions in place of the individual’s decision regarding their care.
Additionally, an individual can draft and sign a Personal Directive, which will allow an individual’s Agent to use the wishes of an individual in the Personal Directive as a basis to make health care decisions on behalf of the individual, and to talk with others about the individual’s care. Alternatively, if the individual does not have an Agent, their Personal Directive allows their family, doctors, and care providers to match the care that the individual is provided to values and choices that the individual prefers.
Lastly, a Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (“MOLST”) is a document an individual can complete that provides instructions for health professionals regarding an individual’s care. The MOLST addresses an individual’s right to accept or refuse medical treatment. Because the MOLST requires a clinician’s signature and individuals may have questions regarding the form, it is important for individuals to discuss this document with their clinician, who can be a Physician, Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant.
eternalHealth provides a Health Care Proxy Form and Personal Directive prepared by Honoring Choices of Massachusetts for individual use. Additionally, eternalHealth provides a link for individuals to access the most up-to-date MOLST form. These documents are listed below: