Get help

Here are some things you can do to help ensure that your choice, or the choice of someone you care about, to receive life-sustaining medical treatment is followed:

  • Execute a Durable Power of Attorney appointing someone you trust to make health care decisions for you at any point that you may be unable to make and communicate your own decisions.
  • Communicate your wishes to your potential health care decision makers.
  • Find out about laws and policies in your area – health care decisions law, surrogate rules, futility law, Physician Orders on Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST).
  • Ask your doctor about his or her views on futility, & the policies of the hospitals he or she uses. Consider whether you need to find a doctor who will support your wishes.
  • Put together a list of advocates, lawyers, groups and reporters that might be able to help you in a crisis; include your state protection and advocacy agency (use the directory at
  • Keep a journal record of conversations with health care providers.
  • Contact Not Dead Yet to learn about potential issues and resources.
  • Contact disability advocates in your area:
  • To find your nearest center for independent living, which is an advocacy and service organization run by people with disabilities, go to
  • To find your nearest protection and advocacy organization, go to