Advance Directives are forms you can fill out before you get sick or go to the hospital to let your doctors and loved ones know about your healthcare wishes if you ever become too ill to make decisions or speak for yourself.
Federal law requires hospitals to give you information about Advance Directives. In Connecticut, there are two types of Advance Directives forms:
- Living Wills or Healthcare Instructions
- Appointment of Healthcare Representative
Living Will or Healthcare Instructions
A Living Will is a form that tells your doctors about your wishes for your medical care, especially if you are in the final stages of a terminal illness or are permanently unconscious. For example, would you want to be given artificial food and fluids, have a machine breathe for you (mechanical ventilation), or have your heart and lungs restarted if they stopped (cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR).
Appointment of Healthcare Representative
A Healthcare Representative is a person you've chosen to make medical decisions for you if you can't make them yourself. You can choose an adult relative or friend you trust, but your doctor is not allowed to be your Healthcare Representative. Your Healthcare Representative can make decisions about any part of your medical treatment, even about stopping life support machines. This person would follow the instructions in your Living Will, if you have one. Who would speak for you?
Appointment of a Conservator
A conservator is a person appointed by the Probate Court to oversee the financial and/or personal affairs of an adult who is determined by the Probate Court to be incapable of managing his or her finances or unable to care for himself or herself. A conservator may also be appointed for a person who voluntarily requests such assistance. At Yale New Haven Health, a Social Work or Care Manager will assist you in navigating this process. Please see our FAQs below for additional info, or contact social work at 203-688-2195 for additional guidance.
Advance Directives Forms
Living Will and and Healthcare Representative forms can be downloaded in English and Spanish.
Note: If you are not a resident of Connecticut, you will need different forms. Please visit these health departments for more information, or contact the appropriate agency in your state.