Introduction to Advance Directives

An advance directive is a means by which you can make your wishes known and can make sure you receive the care you want. Completing advance directives will help you feel reassured that your choices can be honored immediately, without losing valuable time, and that difficult decisions will be easier for your loved ones to make.

Advance directives consist of four types. Each enables you to convey your end-of-life wishes in the event that you are unable to communicate:

  1. A Health Care Proxy (also known as a health care power of attorney) allows you to appoint a person you trust as your health care agent, who is authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf.
  2. A Living Will allows you to document your wishes concerning medical treatments at the end of life.
  3. A Do Not Resuscitate Order (also known as a DNR) is a physician’s order that directs health care professionals and/or emergency medical personnel NOT to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation if your heart or breathing stops. A DNR is only completed when someone is chronically or seriously ill. Your wishes expressed in a Living Will is not a DNR. A DNR must be completed by a physician on an institutional or state approved form.
  4. An Organ Donor Designation allows you to document your wishes regarding donating your organs after your death. Even if you have indicated that you would like to be an organ donor, your family or health care proxy/agent must give their permission in order for the donation to take place.

The best time to write advance directives is while you’re healthy. To help you through the process we have outlined important information below. PDF forms and instructions on completing advance directives in New York State are provided.

Contact United Hospice at (845) 634-4974 or if you would like further information or help on advance directives.