What is an advance directive?

In the event of an accident or a disabling health condition, we may not be able to make medical decisions for ourselves.  To be properly prepared, it is important to state your health care wishes using a set of documents called an advance directive.

What is an advance directive?
In the state of Texas, an advance directive is composed of four documents. First, a Directive to the Physician states what life sustaining health care treatment you would desire if you had a terminal condition and were unable to physically or mentally make a medical decision. Second, the Medical Power of Attorney names one or more persons who will be legally able to make your health care decisions in the event that you are physically or mentally unable to communicate. The third document is an Out-of-Hospital “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) Order. A DNR is appropriate for any person who does not wish to undergo life sustaining treatment deemed medically inappropriate in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest. Fourth, Texas also permits you to complete a Directive for Mental Health Treatment which allows you to determine in advance the mental health treatments you would not want in the event that you were mentally and physically unable to make or communicate your own choices.

To learn more about advance directives or to create your own set of advance directives, visit the web site www.TexasLivingWill.org

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