Forms and worksheets

Health care directive

Mom and daughter touching foreheads

A health care directive (previously called a living will) gives your family direction on what medical care you want or don't want if you can't communicate. This document gives you the chance to write out your wishes. Those wishes will be legally respected.

It is suggested that all people, even those not currently ill or having surgery, make sure their loved ones are aware of their wishes. A health care directive is a way to do that

If you have a health care directive, bring a copy of it with you when you come to the hospital for surgery. It will be a permanent part of your medical record.

Learn more about advance care planning.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Knee Replacement, fifth edition, ortho-ah-90140
First Published: 10/01/2000
Last Reviewed: 05/26/2017

Tip
Your health care team can give you the health care directive booklet to complete, if you wish.