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Advanced Care Planning

Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to give directions for your future medical care.

There are two types of advance directives:

  • Living will — This is a set of written instructions that explain your wishes for healthcare should you develop a condition that disables your ability to communicate.
  • Durable power of attorney for healthcare — Also known as a "healthcare proxy," this is a document in which you name a person to be your proxy, enabling them to make medical decisions for you should you become unable to do so.

What to consider when advanced care planning:

When creating an advanced care plan, there are several aspects to consider:

  • Check state laws regarding living wills and durable powers of attorney for healthcare.
  • Medical issues to consider when making your plan include:
    • A "do not resuscitate" (DNR) order allows you to refuse attempts to restore heartbeat.
  • In your plan, you may request or refuse pain management controls and a variety of specific medical procedures.
  • Organ donation allows you to donate specific organs or your entire body through your advance directive.
  • Put your wishes in writing and be as specific as possible.
  • Sign and date your advance directive and have it notarized if necessary.
  • Keep a card in your wallet stating that you have an advance directive and where to find it.

After you have made, signed and notarized your advanced care plan, it's important to notify certain people in your life. We recommend the following:

  • Discuss your advance directive with family and friends. Give a copy to anyone who might be notified in an emergency.
  • Give your healthcare provider a copy for your medical records.
  • If you use a durable power of attorney for health care, give your proxy a copy too.

Need Help with Your Advanced Care Planning? Give the CarePartners Palliative Care Team a call at 828-277-4805.


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