These are documents which set out your wishes for how you would like to be treated in the later stages of your life. The document allows you to make statements as to what medical treatment you should and should not be given. Often in these later stages you may not have capacity to inform doctors or family members of what medical treatment you want to receive to provide for the circumstances in which medical treatment is to be given or not or for when you are to be resuscitated or not. Documents like these are very important as difficult decisions can be made in advance by the individual themselves, rather than by loved ones. This eases the stress for family members and allows you a level of control over your medical treatment. It can also relate to any future treatment, not necessarily that which is immediately life-saving.
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