||Living Will & Healthcare Directives
A Living Will gives you a voice in decisions about your medical care when you are unconscious or too ill to communicate. As long as you are able to express your own decisions, your Living Will will not be used and you can accept or refuse any medical treatment. But if you become seriously ill, you may lose the ability to participate in decisions about your own treatment. You have the right to make decisions about your health care. No health care may be given to you over your objection, and necessary health care may not be stopped or withheld if you object. The Kentucky Living Will Directive Act of 1994 was passed to ensure that citizens have the right to make decisions regarding their own medical care, including the right to accept or refuse treatment. This right to decide -- to say yes or no to proposed treatment -- applies to treatments that extend life, like a breathing machine or a feeding tube.
| LIVING WILLS IN KY
You can open this PDF (download) and print out to fill in at your convenience.
In Kentucky a Living Will allows you to leave instructions in four critical areas. You can:
- Designate a Health Care Surrogate
- Refuse or request life prolonging treatment
- Refuse or request artificial feeding or hydration (tube feeding)
- Express your wishes regarding organ donation
Everyone age 18 or older can have a Living Will. The effectiveness of a Living Will is suspended during pregnancy. It is not necessary that you have an attorney draw up your Living Will. Kentucky law (KRS 311.625) actually specifies the form you should fill out. You probably should see an attorney if you make changes to the Living Will form. The law also prohibits relatives, heirs, health care providers or guardians from witnessing the Will. You may wish to use a Notary Public in lieu of witnesses. The Living Will form includes two sections. The first section is the Health Care Surrogate section which allows you to designate one or more persons, such as a family member or close friend, to make health care decisions for you if you lose the ability to decide for yourself. The second section is the Living Will section in which you may make your wishes known regarding life-prolonging treatment so your Health Care Surrogate or Doctor will know what you want them to do. You can also decide whether to donate any of your organs in the event of your death. When choosing a surrogate, remember that the person you name will have the power to make important treatment decisions, even if other people close to you might urge a different decision. Choose the person best qualified to be your health care surrogate. Also, consider picking a back-up person, in case your first choice isn't available when needed. Be sure to tell the person that you have named them a surrogate and make sure that the person understands what's most important to you. Your wishes should be laid out specifically in the Living Will.
If you decide to make a Living Will, be sure to talk about it with your family and your doctor. The conversation is just as important as the document .
A copy of any Living Will should be put in your medical records. Each time you are admitted for an overnight stay in a hospital or nursing home, you will be asked whether you have a Living Will. You are responsible for telling your hospital or nursing home that you have a Living Will. If there is anything you do not understand regarding the form, you might want to discuss it with an attorney. You can also ask your doctor to explain the medical issues. When completing the form, you may complete all of the form, or only the parts you want to use. You are not required by law to use these forms. Different forms, written the way you want, may also be used. You should consult with an attorney for advice on drafting your own forms. You are not required to make a Living Will to receive healthcare or for any other reason. The decision to make a Living Will must be your own personal decision and should only be made after serious consideration. For additional copies of this packet, you may download it from the Attorney General's website at www.ag.ky.gov/livingwill or make photocopies of this packet. This packet is provided to you by the Office of the Attorney General for informational purposes only.
The OAG does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or in the provision of services and provides upon request, reasonable accommodation necessary to afford individuals with disabilities and equal opportunity to participate in all programs and activities. Copies printed with state funds.