Making Sense of Advance Directives

cover art
304 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878406050 (0878406050)

February 1996
LC: 95-42746

Clinical Medical Ethics series



Making Sense of Advance Directives

Revised Edition
Nancy M.P. King
Advance directives—such as living wills and health care proxies—are documents intended to declare and preserve the health care choices of patients if they become unable to make their own decisions. This book provides a comprehensive overview of advance directives and clear, practical directions for writing and interpreting them.

Nancy M.P. King provides a legal, philosophical, and historical analysis of the moral and legal force of advance directives. She explains the types and models of advance directives currently in use and offers guidelines for individuals seeking to write, read, and use directives to promote individuals' health care choices within the laws of their own states.

King emphasizes that advance directives are not orders given by patients to their doctors; instead, they are documents that invite conversation between doctors and patients about health care decisions of great importance. The purpose of advance directives is to support patients' health care choices, and the book promotes a thoughtful use of advance directives that is best calculated to achieve that purpose, whatever form individual advance directives may take.

This new edition has been updated to reflect the many changes in advance directive statutes since 1991, including expanded discussions of health care proxy statutes, the impact of the Patient Self-Determination Act and the Supreme Court's Cruzan decision. King also has extended her analysis of the implications for advance directives of managed care, resource allocation, resource scarcity, and the debate over futile treatment at the end of life.

Making Sense of Advance Directives is a valuable handbook for patients, health care providers and administrators, patient counselors, lawyers, policymakers, and any individual interested in advance directives.
Nancy M.P. King is a lawyer and an professor in the Department of Social Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
H. Tris Engelhardt and Kevin Wm. Wildes, Series Editors
"The book is directed primarily at clinician . . . [and] is also accessible to intelligent readers generally. It can provide help to individuals as they develop or revise their own directives, and it can aid administrators and institutional ethics committees as they struggle with policy and procedural issues . . . the best single book on this timely topic."—Medical Humanities Review, reviewing a previous edition or volume