Advance directives are written documents in which you state your preferences about health care decisions affecting you in the event you’re unable to speak for yourself.
Living Will – allows you to state the kind of medical care you want or do not want, if you are terminally ill and become unable to make your own decisions.
Health Care Surrogate – a person whom you designate in an advance directive to make health care decisions while you’re incapacitated.
Durable Power of Attorney – a legal document that can have broad-reaching legal implications. It can deal with financial as well as health issues. This document should be executed only in consultation with appropriate legal counsel.
Proxy – a person chosen by the hospital to make your health care decisions for you when you become incapacitated in the absence of an advance directive.
DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders are written instructions from a physician telling health care providers not to perform CPR or other procedures to revive a person in the event of a sudden life-threatening health development such as a heart attack. Issued with the consent of the patient or family, they are used for people with terminal illnesses, or serious or disabling conditions from which they are not expected to recover, as well as the elderly or very frail who would suffer from attempts at revival.
For more information about these important documents, consult your doctor, social worker, hospital or attorney.