The Louisiana living will – also known as the Louisiana Declaration – makes it possible for you to assert your wishes about medical treatment in the ill-fated event that you become irreversibly comatose or terminally sick and can no longer participate in the making of your own health care decisions.
This legal document only becomes effective once the continual application of life support measures have been proven to merely put off an imminent death.
Of course, your attending physician and another doctor must first make a fitting diagnosis about your medical condition. On top of that, they must officially state in writing that your current health status is indeed beyond any possibility of recovery.
The declaration also lets you assign another person to act as your health care advocate. He or she will make the necessary decisions with regard to treatment in case your medical condition forbids you from deciding for your own care or expressing your wishes.
In Louisiana, the State Secretary is obliged to set up a Declaration registry where citizens may enlist the original and certified true copy of their living wills. Doctors and other pertinent members of the health care facility may, but is not expected to, ask for a verification of document authenticity from the registry of Louisiana living wills.
Things You Should Do After Filling Out The Forms
1) Store the original copy of your Louisiana living will in a secure yet accessible location. Steer clear of security boxes (i.e. safe deposit box) since gaining access to the document might become a problem in the future.
2) Make copies of the duly signed document and hand them over to your health care surrogate, immediate family members, close friends, and health care provider. More often than not, a copy of the living will is placed in the medical records so that members of the health team would know of its existence.
3) Be sure to speak with your health care surrogate, doctor(s), family and close friends about your preferences with regard to medical treatment. Talk about your health care wishes and the factors that helped shape them.
4) In case you want to change certain instructions in your living will, or perhaps you wish to add something, you have to fill out a new document for that.
5) Keep in mind that you have the right to revoke your Louisiana living will at any time.
6) Understand that the Louisiana Declaration will not take effect in emergency situations. The personnel of an ambulance are duty-bound to provide CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), unless they are furnished with a separate order that indicates otherwise. This special order – also known as “non-hospital DNR order” – is intended for individuals whose ill health presents a very slim likelihood of benefiting from the life-saving procedure.
In addition, the order must hold the signature of the person’s attending physician. An instruction to withhold CPR in the event of a cardiac or respiratory arrest is also contained in the order. At present, not all states have statutes that authorize “non-hospital DNR orders”.
Certain conditions, however, must be satisfied in order for a Louisiana living will to be regarded as legally binding. For instance, with regard to age, you need to be at least 18 years old to be qualified to draw up your own living will.
Aside from that, you need to be of sound mind when making this legal document.