A Health Care Directive (also known as a Living Will), gives Manitobans the right to accept or refuse medical treatment at any time. The provincial Health Care Directives Act allows you to express your wishes about the amount and type of health care and treatment you want to receive, should you become unable to speak or communicate. It also allows you to give another person (your proxy) the power to make medical decisions for you, should you be unable to make them yourself.
You should talk to your doctor before writing out your wishes. This will ensure your directions are clearly understood by those providing the treatment. These wishes are binding on health care professionals and will be honoured by the courts (unless they are not consistent with accepted health care practices). It is important to let family, friends, your doctor and your proxy know you have a directive and where it can be found.
For more information on Health Care Directives and to download a form, see www.gov.mb.ca/health/livingwill.html.
Do Not Resuscitate
A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) document is a binding legal document that states resuscitation should not be attempted if you suffer cardiac or respiratory arrest. A DNR order may be instituted on the basis of an advance directive from you, or from someone entitled to make decisions on your behalf, such as your health care proxy.