Connecticut Elder Law FAQ


Do I have the right to make health care decisions?

Yes. Adult patients in Connecticut have the right to determine what, if any, medical treatment they will receive. As a capable adult, you may agree to treatment that may help you or you may refuse treatment even if the treatment might keep you alive longer.

Do I have the right to information needed to make a health care decision?

Yes. Physicians have the responsibility to provide patients with information that can help them to make a decision. Your physician will explain what treatments may help you how each treatment may effect you, that is, how it can help you and what, if any, serious problems or side effects the treatment is likely to cause what may happen if you decide not to receive treatment. Your physician may also recommend what, if any, treatment is appropriate, but the final decision is yours to make. All of this information is provided so you can exercise your right to decide your treatment wisely.

What is an advance directive?

An advance directive is a legal document through which you may provide your directions or wishes as to your medical care. It is used when you are unable to make or communicate your decisions about your medical treatment. It is prepared before any condition or circumstance occurs that causes you to be unable to actively make a decision about your medical care. In Connecticut, there are three types of advance directives, the living will or health care instructions, the appointment of a health care agent the appointment of an attorney-in-fact for health care decisions, also called a durable power of attorney for health care decisions.

What is a living will?

A living will is a document that states whether you wish to have administered life sustaining procedures or treatment should you be in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious.

What is a health care agent?

A health care agent is a person whom you authorize in writing to convey your wishes concerning whether you wish to withhold or withdraw life support systems. The agent does not become involved in any other treatment decisions.

What is an attorney-in-fact for health care decisions?

An attorney-in-fact for health care decisions is a person whom you name in a document called a durable power of attorney, to make medical decisions other than withdrawal of life support systems on your behalf should you become unable to make or communicate such decisions yourself. Your attorney-in-fact may make decisions about any aspect of your medical treatment except in three areas. He or she may not make decisions regarding: (1) withdrawal of life support systems; (2) withdrawal of food and fluids; and (3) medical treatment designed solely to maintain your physical comfort.