Advanced Directives

Definition: Health Care Advance Directives are different documents that allow you to give directions about your preferred health care choices should you be disabled and unable to make those decisions for yourself. The person you trust and name to make these decisions for you is called your Health Care Proxy.

Different Advance Directive documents (Some of these documents overlap each other.)

1) Living Will (spells out what kind of medical treatment you do and do not want)

2) Five Wishes (also called Five Wishes Living Will, contains a Living Will as well as a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care)

3) DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Means no CPR (CardioPulmonaryResuscitation)Your doctor must sign this form for it to be recognized as valid.

These next 3 are usually doctor’s orders in a hospital or nursing home setting.

4) DNI (Do Not Intubate) Means no breathing tube.

5) DNT (Do Not Treat)  For example: Pneumonia and urinary tract infections

6) DNH (Do Not Hospitalize)

Different names for Health Care Proxy

  • Power of Attorney for Health Care
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
  • Durable Medical Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Surrogate
  • Health Care Agent

Why a Health Care Advance Directive is a must

1) Helps you think about these hard questions and clarify what YOU want

2) Helps your loved ones feel they can make the best decision for you

3) Helps avoid intervention by the courts

Remember the major concern of loved ones is that they honor the wishes of the dying.


What if you change your mind? Just like with your will, if you rip it up it’s no longer valid.

If you decide to do that, remember tell your doctor and your Health Care Proxy.

If you have misplaced it, the most recently dated one is the one that will stand up in court.

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