A living will should contain the kind of circumstances a person would wish to endure. They should be in writing and should be defined in specific terms using the following criteria: type of illness or injury, severity, and prognosis (particularly pertaining to irreversibility or permanence).
On top of that, the narrative should be comprehensible and purely medical. Steer clear of statements like "I do not want to be in a persistently hopeless state" as they are more unclear compared to straightforwardly saying no to the application of a mechanical ventilator.
In general, it takes a considerable amount of time to precisely determine if a patient will remain in bad shape permanently or if a certain degree of recovery is probable. In a lot of cases, a definitive diagnosis is usually formed after weeks of close observation. A person's medical condition, however, may change without warning – either for the better or for the worse. That is why it is vital not to indicate time restrictions in your living will.
Instead, build your request or refusal for treatment on the possibility of recovery, the probability of enduring discomfort or pain, and the professional opinion of the attending physicians. Other causes of treatment refusal may include the lack of merit for the risk or pain, and the distressing state of treatments (i.e. hemodialysis sessions).
Although the contents of living wills are similar in most cases, the state laws may involve several additions or specifications in the forms. For this reason, it would also be an excellent idea to gain knowledge about state-specific policies.