Health Care Providers Click Here for Information
The mission of the U.S. Living Will Registry is to promote the use of
advance directives through educational programs and to make people's health care
choices available to their caregivers and families whenever and wherever they
are needed, while maintaining the confidentiality of their information and
The U.S. Living Will Registry has solved many of the
problems historically associated with advance directives. Read the list of
problems below, followed by a description of how the Registry has helped solve
that particular problem.
People don't know what advance directives are.
Solution: The U.S. Living Will Registry helps educate
the public about advance directives through this web site, it's printed brochure
"Will Your Health Care Choices Be Honored If You Become Incapacitated?", and
its highly acclaimed "Living
Will Fair" Guide that gives step-by-step instructions to health care
providers on how to sponsor an educational community event about advance
People don't know how to prepare an advance directive.
Solution: The U.S. Living Will Registry provides
resources on this web site that will help people learn how to prepare an advance
directive. The Advance Directive Forms page gives
background instructions on what you should consider in preparing the document,
and also has links to sites containing the form specific for your state.
Problem: People don't know where to store
their advance directive.
Solution: People are commonly told to give
copies of their advance directive to their family members, doctor and attorney.
But when the time comes to find the document, it is usually not available.
By definition, these documents are prepared well in advance of when they will be
needed, and they are commonly put away for "safe keeping". This makes them
difficult to find during the stressful period when you're ill and the document
needs to be found. In addition, you may become ill while away from home,
and most people do not carry their advance directive with them when they travel.
By registering your advance directive with the U.S. Living Will Registry, you
can rest assured that hospitals and health care providers across the country
will have access to your document no matter where or when it is needed.
See the "How it Works" section below for details.
Problem: Family members are forced to make difficult,
guilt-ridden end-of-life decisions for their loved ones when the advance
directive cannot be found.
Solution: Even when someone has prepared an advance
directive, if it cannot be found when it is needed, family members are asked to
make difficult decisions about the care of their loved one. By registering
your advance directive with the U.S. Living Will Registry, you will have the
peace of mind of knowing that your family members will not be placed in such a
situation. Your choices will be available to your doctors and family
members wherever and whenever needed.
Health care providers have a difficult time managing all of the advance
directives they receive from patients.
Solution: Health care providers are required by law
to ask their patients if they have an advance directive, and to place the
document into the medical record. Storing these documents and retrieving
them has proved to be very difficult for providers. How does the provider
know that the advance directive on file is the most recent? Which of the
multiple charts on a particular patient contains the most current advance
directive? Who has the time to search through the medical records to find
the old advance directive each time a patient is re-admitted? What does a
provider do with the advance directive when they convert their charts to
electronic form, or microfiche? The U.S. Living Will Registry is the solution to
all of these problems. By using the Registry to store their advance
directives, health care providers do not need to maintain their own storage and
retrieval system. They have 24-hour access to the Registry by telephone or
Internet, and can retrieve a document in seconds. Because the Registry
contacts each registrant annually to make sure their advance directive has not
changed, providers are assured that the documents they receive from the Registry
are up to date. Only health care providers have access to the documents,
so privacy and confidentiality are always maintained.
With our exclusive Living VaultSM
service, all of a facility's advance directives (even those
currently on file in the record room) can be managed by the Registry. This
comprehensive system is an economical and efficient way for health care
providers to manage their advance directives and comply with federal and state
regulations. It also enables Health Systems that have multiple hospitals,
nursing facilities and hospices to easily share advance directives with other
facilities in their system. Visit the
"Information for Providers" page for more details.
your health care choices be honored if you become incapacitated?
Protect your right to control your health care. Learn how to
create and register your living will and health care proxy.
Health care is vitally important to everyone. Wherever you are,
whatever the situation, you want to be sure you receive appropriate treatment.
But even more importantly, you want your decisions to be honored.
The United States Supreme Court guarantees you the right to make
those choices, even when you are too sick to make your wishes known. This right
gives you control and protects your dignity. But how can you be sure that your
choices will be honored if you're incapacitated?
Every American, regardless of age, faces this question. If you
plan now, you can make sure you get the kind of care you want, and relieve your
family of burdensome decisions.
Make your choices known in an advance directive.
An advance directive is a legal document in which you
state how you want to be treated if you become very ill and there is no
reasonable hope for your recovery. Although laws vary from state to state, there
are basically two kinds of advance directives.
1. A living will is a legal document in which you state
the kind of health care you want or don't want under certain circumstances.
2. A health care proxy (or durable health care power of
attorney) is a legal document in which you name someone close to you to make
decisions about your health care if you become incapacitated.
You can have both - a health care proxy naming a person to make
the decisions, and a living will to help guide that person in making the
In order for your advance directive to be useful, it has to
be available. After all, your advance directive won't do you any good if no one
can find it.
Ensure that your advance directive is available when you need
it, wherever you are.
Fortunately, there's an easy, secure way to make sure that your
advance directive is available to your family and doctors wherever and whenever
it's needed: the U.S. Living Will Registry.
Developed in consultation with attorneys who represent
hospitals, the U.S. Living Will Registry is a nationwide service that stores
your advance directive electronically and makes it available 24 hours a day to
health care providers across the country. Your advance directive - living will,
health care proxy, or both - is made available to your family and doctors when
most needed: when you're too sick to communicate your wishes.
U.S. Living Will Registry eliminates worries about carrying your
advance directive with you, as well as problems of finding it should you become
How it Works:
People register their advance directive and/or organ donor
information free of charge by registering through a member Health Care
Provider or Community Partner. They complete a Registration Agreement
that gives the Registry permission to send a copy of their document to any
health care provider (hospitals, doctors, skilled nursing facilities,
nursing facilities, home health agencies, providers of home health care,
ambulatory surgery centers, and hospices). Once registered, you are
registered for life. The Registry agrees not to release your
information to any party other than health care providers, so your personal
information is kept private and confidential, just like a medical record..
The document is electronically stored in the Registry's
computer along with the registrant's emergency contact information.
The registrant is sent confirmation of their registration
and labels to affix to their insurance card & driver's license, stating that
their advance directive is registered.
The registrant is contacted annually by mail to confirm that
the advance directive has not been changed or revoked, and to update
personal and emergency contact information. This annual update is also
free; there is never a charge to the registrant.
The Registry is funded by Health Care Providers who pay an
annual fee for unlimited access to the Registry's automated system, and so
that their patients are able to register documents with the Registry.
Also, Community Partners of the Registry
(attorneys, accountants, financial planners, community organizations, senior
citizen groups, retailers, automobile clubs, etc.) pay an annual fee so
their members, clients or customers can register their documents. In
this way, the service can be offered to registrants free of charge, and cost
will never be a barrier to someone who wants to register this important
Health care providers can
contact the Registry 24 hours a day to gain access to advance directives,
organ donor information and emergency contact information, or simply
to inquire as to whether any patient has an advance directive (see
"Information for Providers").
Member health care providers can use the automated service to request
documents from the Registry by telephone (1-800-LIV-WILL) or via the secure
Internet web site. Member health care providers are assigned Identification
Numbers and Access Codes to use when contacting the Registry.
Providers have the option of receiving documents from the Registry by fax or
via encrypted Internet transmission. By gaining secure access to the
Registry's automated system and entering the patient's social security
number, health care providers can retrieve a copy of an advance directive,
along with emergency contact and organ donor information in a matter of
seconds. Health care providers that are not members of the Registry
can still access documents, but they cannot use the automated system.
Non-member providers can obtain documents by contacting the Registry by
phone and providing information about their facility and about the person
whose document they are trying to retrieve. Registry personnel will
perform a manual transmission of the document.
What are the benefits to me?
Peace of mind, knowing that your choices are secure
and will be available to your family and doctors even if you become ill away
The serenity of knowing that you will be able to
"speak" to your family and doctors through your advance directive about your
personal philosophy and help them make the decisions you want without
feeling guilt or remorse.
The security of confidential, 24-hour access to your
choices by hospitals and health care providers across the country.
Health care providers
can use the Registry to outsource storage and retrieval of these important
documents; eliminating the need to maintain their own storage system.
Simply register your advance directive with U.S. Living Will
Registry by filling out a form that gives the Registry permission to send a copy
to health care providers (hospitals, doctors, skilled nursing facilities,
nursing facilities, home health agencies, providers of home health care, and
hospices). You must agree to inform the Registry if you ever decide to change
your advance directive. The Registry electronically stores your advance
directive in its computer and identifies it by your social security number.
Health care providers can contact the computer by telephone or via a secure
Internet site to request a copy of your advance directive. The computer securely
transmits a copy of your document to the health care provider, and it is kept as
part of your confidential medical record.
Your advance directive and personal information is totally
confidential and can only be accessed by health care providers. You will have
peace of mind knowing that your advance directive is safe, secure, and available
to your family and doctors whenever and wherever it is needed. And because
providers can simply contact the Registry to see if any patient has an
advance directive, there is no need for you to carry a card stating that you're
How to Prepare and Register an Advance Directive
If you already have an advance directive, follow the simple
directions which follow for registering it.
If you do not have an advance directive, think about the kinds
of medical treatment you wish to have, or not have, if you are incapacitated,
and discuss them with your chosen decision-maker and your family. Next,
formalize your wishes in an advance directive. For assistance in preparing your
advance directive, visit your local hospital, ask an attorney, or visit the
Advance Directive Forms or
Internet Resources pages on this site. Some of the organizations listed in
the resources section provide state-specific advance
directive forms which you can download or request by mail or telephone.
Make sure your choices and personal philosophy about medical
treatments are clearly stated in your advance directive.
To Register Your Advance Directive
Visit the "How to Register"
page for instructions on how to register your advance directive.
You will receive confirmation when your advance directive is
Registration is FREE.
U.S. Living Will Registry provides this service to registrants
without charge so that everyone
can participate. You must register through a member Health Care Provider
or Community Partner. Visit the "How to Register"
page for instructions. The Registry is funded by Health Care Providers who
pay an annual fee for unlimited access to the Registry's automated system, and
so that their patients are able to register documents with the Registry.
Also, Community Partners of the Registry
(attorneys, accountants, financial planners, community organizations, senior
citizen groups, retailers, automobile clubs, etc.) pay an annual fee so their
members, clients or customers can register their documents. In this way,
the service can be offered to registrants free of charge, and cost will never be
a barrier to someone who wants to register this important document.
To read comments from registrants and attorneys, visit the “Testimonials”
Born of Necessity...
U.S. Living Will Registry was founded by Joseph T. Barmakian,
M.D., a New Jersey Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon. Dr. Barmakian has
witnessed the ordeal of patients' families as they confront the painful,
guilt-ridden decisions of life support and medical treatment. He has also felt
the frustration of doctors who don't have access to patients' wishes. It was in
1996 that Dr. Barmakian first recognized the need for a registry service that
not only recorded patients' advance directives, but also made it easier for
health care facilities to obtain the information. Dr. Barmakian felt it was
critical to establish a system which provides medical personnel and patient's
families with advance directives whenever and wherever they are needed while
maintaining the patient's privacy and confidentiality. U.S. Living Will Registry
fulfills these criteria, providing easy, 24-hour access to patients' wishes.