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Advance Directives Give the Gift of Knowledge: Your Living Wishes

Home consultation for senior coupleAdvance directives are an important part of your care: these written statements communicate your wishes regarding medical treatment if you are unable to communicate them on your own behalf. By filling out these three documents, you are easing the burden of your loved ones by allowing them to rest assured that your end-of-life wishes are being respected.

It is never too early to fill out your advance directives; these documents are equally as important for an 18-year-old as they are a 100-year-old. And while we hope we that won’t need them for many years to come, we all have wishes related to the care we do – or don’t – want to receive.

 

Advance Directive Documents

Three Documents of Advance Directives

  1. Healthcare Power of Attorney (HCPOA or HPOA): Legally appoints a person to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you cannot make decisions for yourself. Make sure this person is in absolute agreement with your wishes.
  2. Living Will: Provides directions for everyone, including your family and physicians, on what care you do or do not want to receive.
  3. DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order (Optional): States that you do not want any lifesaving measures to be taken in the event that your heart and/or breathing stops. The types of DNR orders are listed below.
    1. DNR-CCA (Comfort Care Arrest) – This order states that you wish for all lifesaving medical treatments and interventions (including the use of powerful medications) to be performed up until the point that your heart and/or breathing stops, at which point only comfort care will be provided.
    2. DNR-CC (Comfort Care) – This order states that you wish only for comfort measures (such as supportive care and/or symptom management) to be performed. No lifesaving measures should be taken: no surgery, no CPR, no aggressive medical treatments or pharmaceutical interventions.

Please note that a DNR document is not required if you wish for a full code and all lifesaving measures to be taken. It’s also important to know that a DNR does not keep you from receiving the best possible medical care while in the hospital. It only applies in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Everyone over the age of 18 should have a signed Healthcare Power of Attorney. This allows a legally appointed person to speak for you when/if you cannot, and gives you the opportunity to discuss your wishes with that person(s). The Living Will allows you to share with your family and medical providers whether or not you want to receive life support if you are in a coma or are dying. A DNR allows you and your doctor to tell others when you do not want to receive life sustaining care.

  • These documents are easy to complete: they are all about you and your wishes. You do not need a lawyer to complete advance directives, but the forms will need to be signed by a notary and/or witnesses.

  • Advance directives are easy to change, and you are encouraged to review them every few years. Your feelings regarding your previous choices may have changed, and you should update your documents accordingly.

Lawyer with senior couple

How to Complete the Documents

You may complete the documents on your own. The documents must be made valid by a notary (banks and many local businesses/agencies have notaries available to assist you) or by two non-family witnesses who are not named in the document. Keep in mind that witnesses must be present at the same time of the signing.

You also may have assistance with completing the forms by making an appointment to sit down with a patient representative at FMC at 740-687-8555. To complete the DNR document, you must meet with your doctor.

You also are welcome to walk into FMC and pick up the documents at either the North or South Information Desks. Local hospice/home care agencies, lawyer’s offices and doctor’s offices also are good places to find assistance with completing the documents.

Once documents are completed, please share with:

  • Your local hospital
  • Your doctors (primary care physicians and specialists)
  • Person(s) named in the document
  • Caregiver(s)
  • Place a copy on the front or side of your refrigerator so EMS or first responders can easily find your documents
  • Put a copy in the glove box of your car

Advance Directives Packet and Forms (PDF)

DNR Comfort Care Form (PDF)

Elder patient at the hospital in a wheelchair

The Admission Process

During your admission process, you will be asked if you have an advance directive (living will and/or durable power of attorney for healthcare), and if not, whether you would like information on how to complete one. Advance directives are your written instructions for the medical treatment you want in the event that you are unable to communicate your wishes. Bring advance directives copies with you for your medical record.

If you currently have a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) or “No CPR” advance directive in place, please notify us immediately. You will have the opportunity to discuss this with your physicians and staff prior to your scheduled procedure.

If you are scheduled for a procedure or surgery and have questions, contact Pre-Surgery Testing at 740-689-6314.

Questions related to Advanced Directives and/or DNR may be answered by contacting our patient representatives at 740-687-8555.