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Advanced Directives

Glossary of Terms for Advanced Directives

Patient Self Determination: The right of competent adults to make their own medical treatment decisions, including the right to complete advance directives that indicate how and/or by whom decisions should be made in the event that the person becomes incapacitated and unable to make his or her own decision.

Advance Directive: A written statement of instructions – either a Living Will or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care in Ohio – which designates a patient’s wishes in the event of incapacity.

Living Will: A legal document, which specifies the kinds of lifesaving and life-sustaining care a person does or does not want in the event of a terminal illness or a permanently unconscious state.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: A legal document giving an individual the power to make healthcare decisions for another when he or she is unable to do so.

Terminal Condition: An incurable condition caused by injury, disease, or illness which – in the judgment of the attending physician and a second physician – would result in death within a short time.

Permanently Unconscious State: A state of permanent unconsciousness shown by

  • A lack of awareness of self and the environment.
  • The patient having no capacity to experience pain or suffering. Two physicians must certify this state exists.

Life-Sustaining Treatments: Any medical procedure, treatment, or other measure that, when administered, will serve mostly to prolong the process of dying.

Artificial Nutrition and Hydration: Food or fluid given through a tube in the nose or stomach, or an intravenous infusion.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): Chest compressions, drugs, electrical shocks, and artificial breathing used to revive a patient.

Patient Rights within Memorial Health System

Making decisions about health care while in a crisis or leaving those decisions to others can be a difficult situation. As a competent adult, you have the right to make decisions about your own health care.

It is possible to give directions about your health care through one of two documents called “Advance Directives.” These documents – a Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care – tell your physician and family what health care you would like to receive when you no longer can actively participate in those decisions.

The following information was prepared to help you understand more fully advance directives. At no time will your care be affected if you do not choose to prepare one. Copies of the Ohio Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care are available should you choose to use one. Please ask the nursing staff if you would like someone with whom to discuss questions or concerns, and a hospital representative will see you.


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