Advanced Directives for Health Care Decisions

Advanced Directives for Health Care Decisions

  • Karen Pelley, Nurse Case Manager, Enhanced Case Management, OSU Health Plan
  • May, 2019
  • Health & Wellness
Learn how these legal documents can protect you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

What are advance directives?

                Advance directives are legal documents about instructions for your care if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. These documents are made ahead of time to help avoid confusion or problems after an accident or adverse health event. There are different types of advance directives, here are some of the most common:

  • Power of attorney (financial and health)
    • A Health Care Power of Attorney allows another person to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to do so
    • A Financial Power of Attorney allows someone else to manage your finances if you become incapacitated
  • Code status (DNRCC, DNRCC - Arrest)
    • There are two options for Do Not Resuscitate
      • DNRCC stands for “Do Not Resuscitate Comfort Care” and means that no resuscitative measures will be taken such as CPR or chest compressions to save or sustain life, but you will be kept comfortable.
      • DNRCC – Arrest means that standard medical care such as oxygen, medications, and supportive care will be given to you until either cardiac or respiratory arrest, and only then resuscitative care will cease

Why are they important?

                These documents are important because catastrophic events can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of age or health. Since you never know if and when an accident or adverse health event will occur and it is crucial to be prepared. It is important to plan ahead in the event you are unable to speak for yourself and let your wishes be known.

Common myths

  • Myth: I need to hire an expensive attorney to fill out these forms
    • Truth: You can fill out advanced directives yourself and have them witnessed or notarized for free
      • Your bank for example, can provide notary services
  • Myth: Once I sign a DNR code status, it is very difficult or cannot be changed
    • Truth: You can change or revoke your code status at any time

Additional resources


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