Advance directives are forms you can use to inform others about your health care wishes ahead of time. You can also use it to name someone to make decisions about your healthcare.
Physicians and others refer to advance directives when patients are unable to make or communicate decisions about their medical treatment.
Where can I get Advance Directives forms?
The State of Connecticut Office of Attorney General's Office provides a pdf booklet called Your Rights to Make Health Care Decisions: A Summary of Connecticut Law
It provides all the Connecticut forms for making advance directives:
Living Will Advance Directive Combined Form
Appointment of a Health Care Representative
Connecticut Directivas para Provisiones Futuras del Cuidado de la Salud >>
New York State
If you are a resident of New York it is recommended that you complete an Advance Directive authorized by that state:
Health Care Proxy – Appointing Your Health Agent in New York State >>
Poder para la atención médica - Designar un agente para la atención médica en el estado de Nueva York >>
If you live in another state, your local health department can supply the appropriate form.
If you are already in the hospital, you can get Advance Directives forms from your doctor, nurse or social worker. You can also contact Patient & Guest Relations at 203-863-4636.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can fill out Advance Directives forms?
You can fill out the forms if you're 18 years or older and of sound mind. You don't need a lawyer to fill out the forms, but you must have two people witness and sign the form so that it is legal. Your Healthcare Representative can't be one of your witnesses.
Who should have a copy of my Advance Directive forms?
Give a copy to your doctor and to your Healthcare Representative. You might also want to have copies for your family, clergy or anyone else you think might be asked about your wishes. If you know ahead of time that you're going to a hospital, bring a copy with you.
What if I change my mind?
You can change or revoke your Living Will at any time and in any way — orally or in writing. But if you want to change or revoke your Health Care Representative, you must do it in writing and have it witnessed by two people. Remember that when you change or revoke Advance Directives, you need to let your doctor and anyone who has a copy know about the changes. Do I have to fill out Advance Directives forms? No, you don't have to fill out the forms if you don't want to. You can just talk with your doctors and ask them to write down what you've said in your medical chart. And you can talk with your family. But filling out the forms makes it easier for your doctors and loved ones to understand and respect your wishes.
Can I still get treated if I don't have Advance Directives forms?
Yes. You don't have to have a Living Will or a Healthcare Representative to be admitted to a hospital or other healthcare setting and receive treatment.
Who makes the decisions about my treatments?
Your doctors can explain what's happening with your illness or medical condition. They will tell you about different treatments and how they can help. Your doctors also have to tell you if the treatments could cause any serious problems. Sometimes, more than one treatment can help. Your doctors can say which one they think is best, but they can't choose for you. You decide what's best for you. You have the right to say "yes" to treatments you want, or "no" to any treatments you don't want — even if the treatment might keep you alive longer.
What happens if I'm too sick to make decisions?
If you're too sick to make decisions, your Healthcare Representative will make decisions for you. If you haven't chosen a Healthcare Representative, your doctor will usually ask your closest relative or friend (including a domestic and/or same sex partner) to help decide what you would want or what's best for you. Often, that works fine, but sometimes relatives or friends disagree about what to do. You can save your loved ones a lot of worry if you fill out Advance Directives forms ahead of time.
How does my Healthcare Representative know what I want?
After you choose someone to be your representative, tell that person what you want. Give them a copy of your Living Will, where you can write down when you would or wouldn't want certain types of medical treatments.
This page reflects changes to Connecticut state law as of October 1, 2006. Forms signed prior to that date, including Health Care Agent and Power of Attorney, are still valid.