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May 27, 1996

Advance End-of-Life Treatment Planning

Arch Intern Med. 1996;156(10):1062-1068. doi:10.1001/archinte.1996.00040041062003

The year 1996 marks the fifth anniversary of the federal Patient Self-Determination Act. The Patient Self-Determination Act required hospitals, nursing homes, and health plans to ask whether patients have advance directives and to incorporate them into the medical record. A "living will" is an advance directive by which a person tells caregivers the circumstances in which life-sustaining treatment is to be provided or forgone if the patient is unable to communicate. A "durable power of attorney for health care" enables one to designate a person to speak on his or her behalf if the author loses decision-making capacity. "Advance planning" is the process of reflection, discussion, and communication of treatment preferences for end-of-life care that precedes and may lead to an advance directive.

(Arch Intern Med. 1996;156:1062-1068)

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