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Advance Directives

To make sure your health care instructions are carried out, many patients give advance directives—written or oral instructions to physicians and other health care professionals regarding the type of medical care you desire if you become incapable of making such decisions.

Advance directives include:  

  • A health care proxy—a family member or friend older than 18 who can make treatment decisions on your behalf if you lose the ability to do so
  • Living wills
  • Do-not-resuscitate orders

Discuss your directives with the individual appointed to act on your behalf. If you have already prepared an advance directive, bring it with you to the hospital.