Advance healthcare directives are also known as living wills.

In 2019, the Healthcare Decisions Act was implemented in the Cayman Islands. The law allows a person to determine their wishes surrounding medical care and treatment, including end-of-life care, should they become mentally incompetent, and prepare a legal document to this effect.

The legal document outlines preferred medical treatments and procedures such as resuscitation and life-support. The directive allows a person to determine what course they would like physicians to take in a situation where the individual has become mentally incapacitated or otherwise unable to communicate their wishes.

A person can revoke or amend their own advance directive at any time, while mentally competent. They can also appoint one or more proxies to act as a substitute decision-maker in cases where the advance directive-maker becomes mentally incompetent.

Mentally incompetent means a person is unable to make a decision and doesn’t possess the faculties to understand the nature and effect of decisions. Examples of being mentally incompetent include being sedated for medical reasons or suffering from a medical condition leaving them unable to make informed decisions – on many occasions, this might only be a temporary situation. The directive will only take effect once the directivemaker is deemed to be mentally incompetent by a doctor and can be revoked at any time while they are still mentally competent.

Advance healthcare directives ensure an individual’s wishes are known, respected and upheld. It can also alleviate potentially difficult decision-making in a time of crisis.

How to complete an advance healthcare directive

As well as being available for collection at Cayman Islands Hospital, Faith Hospital, and district health centres, the advance healthcare directive form is available from the Ministry of Health website: combined-form-of-advancehealth-care-directive-andproxy-appointment.

A person must be 18 or older and mentally competent to file an advance healthcare directive. The form must be signed in the presence of a doctor, who will witness and sign the form, as well as one other witness who is not the directive-maker’s beneficiary or proxy.

The full law can be accessed through the following link: cms/images/LEGISLATION/ PRINCIPAL/2019/2019-0005/ HealthCareDecisions Act_2022%20Revision. pdf?zoom_highlight=advanced +healthcare+directives#s earch=%22advanced%20 healthcare%20directives%22

If you have filed an advance healthcare directive, give a copy to your lawyer and doctor, let your family know it exists, and add it to the Medic Alert Pack on your fridge, if you have one. These packs are available from Hazard Management Cayman Islands and provide first responders with quick and ready access to information about your medical history, medications and allergies.

You can also take your directive to the HSA records department and ask them to attach it to your records.

Individuals are encouraged to contact the Ministry of Health on 244-2318 or 244-2377 or visit the ministry’s website ( if they have any questions.

Jasmine also offers an advanced care planning booklet. Contact 945-7447.

Updated for 2024.