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What are some common advance directives?

Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to spell out your healthcare preferences and decisions. This ensures people care about and follow your wishes if you die or become unable to communicate with them later.

To learn more, it is helpful toi explore some common types of advance directives.

Living will

A living will is a document that outlines the medical treatments and procedures you wish to receive or avoid in specific situations when you are unable to express your preferences. For example, you can specify whether you want life-sustaining treatments like CPR, mechanical ventilation or tube feeding. This document guides your healthcare providers and loved ones through your end-of-life care wishes.

Healthcare power of attorney

A healthcare power of attorney, also known as a healthcare proxy or agent, is a document that appoints someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so. This person, often a trusted family member or friend, makes sure that medical professionals follow your healthcare preferences when you cannot advocate for yourself. It is important to choose someone who understands your values and wishes.

Do-not-resuscitate order

A do-not-resuscitate, or DNR, order instructs healthcare providers not to perform CPR if your heart stops beating or if you stop breathing. This directive is typically for individuals with serious illnesses or frail health who do not wish to undergo aggressive life-saving measures.


Remember to share your advance directives with your loved ones and healthcare providers to ensure everyone understands your wishes and respects them when the time comes. It may help to take the time to create your advance directives and safeguard your future healthcare decisions.

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