Advance Directives

Plan Ahead: Advance Directives

Make your personal healthcare wishes clear with an Advance Directive. If you are 18 or older and able to make decisions about your care preferences, you may consider planning ahead with an Advanced Directive.

If you have already completed an Advance Directive you can submit a copy for inclusion in your medical record at your next admission, fax to: 828-213-9546, email:, or mail it to:

Mission Hospital 
509 Biltmore Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801
ATTN: Medical Records

What are Advance Directives?

An Advance Directive is a legal document. If you become unable to make your own health care decisions, the Advance Directive allows you to say who you wish to make decisions for you (Healthcare Power of Attorney), as well as your desire not to receive life-prolonging measures (Living Will). It is optional and not required, however, if you are ever too sick or injured to make decisions about your medical care, having them in place can help make your wishes clear.

How does an Advance Directive work?

North Carolina law has three options for Advance Directives: Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Advance Instructions for Mental Health Treatment.

If you have already prepared and signed Advance Directive documents, we will accept them as long as they meet the state requirements of North Carolina law, or the law of another state in which they were signed if you are a patient of the hospital.

Resources and Forms

The NC Practical Form includes both the Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will forms with blank fields to fill in. Once you have filled it out, have a notary and two witnesses assist you with completing the last page. After the form is completed, you control and maintain it. You are encouraged to share copies with the people you have named as your healthcare agents and with any physician or medical facility.

Health Care Power of Attorney

This document lets you name a person to make medical decisions for you when you cannot. This person will be considered your “Health Care Agent.” This can be a relative or someone else. You can also include information about the treatments you do and do not want, North Carolina law sets out who will be your legal decision maker in a certain order and choosing your own Health Care Agent through a Health Care Power of Attorney gives you a chance to make that choice. Here is a list of decision makers in order under North Carolina Law [NCGS 90-21.13 (c)]:

  • Legal Guardian of the patient (appointed by the court but if there is a Health Care Agent, that Agent would make health care decisions unless the Health Care Agent’s power is taken away by the court).
  • Health Care Agent appointed by a valid Health Care Power of Attorney
  • An attorney-in-fact appointed by the patient in a Power of Attorney that includes a health care section.
  • Patient’s spouse
  • Majority of patient’s reasonably available parents and adult children 18 years of age or older
  • Majority of patient’s reasonably available siblings 18 years of age or older
  • A person who has an established relationship with the patient and who is acting in good faith on behalf of the patient and who can reliably communicate the patient’s wishes.

Living Will

In North Carolina, a Living Will is a document that tells others your wishes for medical care/life-prolonging measures if you are dying from:

  • An incurable or irreversible condition that will result in death within a short time; OR
  • Is unconscious and to a high degree of medical certainty will never regain consciousness; OR
  • Suffers from advanced dementia or any other condition resulting in substantial loss of cognitive ability and that loss, to a high degree of medical certainty, is not reversible.
    In a Living Will, the patient can give directions not to start or to stop some treatments that would prolong your life without helping you get better. You can also direct your doctor not to start or to stop giving you food or water through a tube.

Advance Instruction for Mental Health Treatment

On North Carolina, an Advance Instruction for Mental Health Treatment is a document that tells caregivers what mental health treatments you would want or not want if you are unable to decide for yourself. You can also choose a person to make mental health decision for you if you cannot.

Medical Orders: DNR or MOST

Your care provider may speak with you about a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) or a Medical Scope of Treatment (MOST) order. These are medical orders that address end of life treatment options. Your doctor can provide more information to you about these orders and how they can help you.

Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation

Choosing to be a tissue donor begins with learning more. Organ, eye, and tissue donation is a chance for you to improve or save a person’s life after you die. More than 200 people in western North Carolina are waiting on national lists for an organ transplant. Very few people are able to be organ donors; most people can be eye and tissue donors after death. Consider what it would mean to you to be an Organ Donor and share your decisions with your family and friends.

These organizations can help answer your questions:

  • Life Share of the Carolinas – Toll-free 1 (800) 932-4483
  • Donate Life North Carolina – Learn more or register as a donor at

Contact Us

You can get more detailed information by contacting Health Information Management and Medical Records at the facility nearest you.