St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Advance care directives

    Living will; Power of attorney; DNR - advance directive; Do not resuscitate - advance directive

    You may not be able to make health care choices for yourself if you are very ill or injured. An advance care directive is a legal form. It tells your doctor in advance what care you agree to.

    Why Write an Advance Directive?

    When you are unable to speak for yourself due to an illness, your health care providers may be unclear as to what type of care you would like.

    Your family members may be uncertain or disagree about the type of medical care you should receive.

    Using an advance directive, you can tell your doctor what medical treatment you do not want to have. You can also state what treatment you want no matter how ill you are.

    Writing an advance care directive may be hard. You need to:

    • Know and understand your treatment options
    • Decide future treatment options you may want
    • Discuss your choices with your family

    Studies show that most people believe having an advance directive is a good idea; yet, most people have not created one for themselves.

    Living Wills

    A living will explains the care you do or do not want. In it, you can state your wishes about receiving:

    • CPR (if your breathing stops or your heart stops beating)
    • Feedings through a tube into a vein (IV) or into your stomach
    • Extended care on a breathing machine
    • Tests, medicines, or surgeries
    • Blood transfusions

    Each state has laws about living wills. You can find out about the law in your state from your doctor, the state law organization, and most hospitals.

    Other important facts include:

    • A living will is not the same as a last will and testament after a person's death.
    • You are not able to name someone to make health care decisions for you in a living will.

    Other Types of Advance Directives

    Special health care power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to name someone else (a health care agent or proxy) to make health care decisions for you when you cannot.

    NOTE: It does not give power to anyone to make legal or financial decisions for you.

    DNR (do not resuscitate) order.This tells health care providers not to do CPR if your breathing stops or your heart stops beating. Your doctor talks to you, the proxy, or family about this choice. The doctor writes the order on your medical chart.

    Fill out an organ donation card and carry it in your wallet. Keep a second card with your important papers. You can find out about organ donation from your doctor. You can also have this choice listed on your driver's license.

    Verbal instructions. These are your choices aboutcare that you tell health care providers or family members. Verbal wishes usually replace those you made previously in writing.

    What Else?

    Write your living will or health care power of attorney according to your state's laws.

    • Give copies to your family members, health care providers, and health care agent
    • Carry a copy with you in a wallet or glove compartment of your car.
    • Take a copy with you if you are in a hospital. Tell all medical staff involved in your care about the documents.

    You can change your decisions at any time. Be sure to tell everyone involved -- family, proxies, and health care providers -- if a living will is changed. Copy, save, and share the new instructions with them.

    References

    Kapp MB. Ethical and legal issues. In: Duthie EH, Katz PR, Malone ML, eds. Practice of Geriatrics. 4th ed. Philadelphia,Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 6.

    BACK TO TOP

          A Closer Look

            Talking to your MD

              Self Care

                Tests for Advance care directives

                  Review Date: 4/7/2012

                  Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

                  The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
                  adam.com

                  A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


                  Back  |  Top
                  About Us
                  Contact Us
                  History
                  Mission
                  Locations & Directions
                  Quality Reports
                  Annual Reports
                  Honors & Awards
                  Community Health Needs
                  Assessment

                  Newsroom
                  Services
                  Brain & Spine
                  Cancer
                  Heart
                  Maternity
                  Orthopedics
                  Pulmonary
                  Sleep Medicine
                  Urgent Care
                  Women's Services
                  All Services
                  Patients & Visitors
                  Locations & Directions
                  Find a Physician
                  Tour St. Luke's
                  Patient & Visitor Information
                  Contact Us
                  Payment Options
                  Financial Assistance
                  Send a Card
                  Mammogram Appointments
                  Health Tools
                  My Personal Health
                  mystlukes
                  Spirit of Women
                  Health Information & Tools
                  Clinical Trials
                  Health Risk Assessments
                  Employer Programs -
                  Passport to Wellness

                  Classes & Events
                  Classes & Events
                  Spirit of Women
                  Donate & Volunteer
                  Giving Opportunities
                  Volunteer
                  Physicians & Employees
                  For Physicians
                  Remote Access
                  Medical Residency Information
                  Pharmacy Residency Information
                  Physician CPOE Training
                  Careers
                  Careers
                  St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
                  Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile