PA has a big push ongoing to promote advance health directives and, as part of that effort, has passed a law that creates a commission to determine who decides such matters for residents without their own directive. (I will keep a close eye on that.) Toward educating the public, the Pennsylvania Medical Society has created a Web page with some basic information.
I think advance directives are important, too. However, I suggest that people never sign a “living will” since that gives doctors the right to decide when it is effective and what it means. The decider should not also be the treater. When asked, I urge patients to sign a durable power of attorney for health care, which names someone else to stand in your shoes as the decision maker in the event of need.
I have one an advance directive prepared by a lawyer–always a good idea–that is consistent with the provisions of the Protective Medical Decisions Document (PMDD), a state specific advance directive prepared by the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.