An advance directive enables you to direct the medical treatment you will receive in the future, in case you are unable to communicate. It is an important tool that manifests the right of everyone to control their healthcare. Iowa law allows for three types of directives: a living will, durable power of attorney for health care decision-making, and out-of-hospital do-not-resuscitate orders.
The living will allows you to state whether you would like to discontinue life-sustaining treatment like artificial nourishment if you have a terminal condition that will result in death shortly and the treatment only serves to prolong the process of dying.
The durable power of attorney for health care lets you name an agent to decide any treatment issues for you. If you have not indicated your desired treatment, the agent will have preeminent authority in deciding which treatment is most consistent with your wishes and in your best interests. Thus, it is important to discuss with your agent how much you value independence and any religious issues related to death.
The do-not-resuscitate order lets you state that if you stop breathing or your heart stops beating, you do not want to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation or mechanical respiration, defibrillation, or resuscitation drugs.
If the principal would like to only set their end of life treatment options without the use of an agent he or she may use the living will.
- POA – http://www.nrc-pad.org/images/stories/PDFs/iowa_hcpaform.pdf
- Living Will – https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/iowabar.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/forms/122_13.pdf