The Hard Conversation-Advance Directives

Deb Van Zant


If something happened to you, would your family, friends and medical team know your wishes? We always want to think we would be able to make our own medical decisions but what if we could not? This is a hard conversation to have with yourself and family, but it is vital.

Advance Directives help your family know what your wishes are, and many times relieve the stress of making medical decisions for you. The directives consist of a Living Will Declaration, Life-Prolonged Procedure Declaration, Power of Attorney and Appointment of Healthcare Representative, Do Not Resuscitate and Psychiatric Advance Directives.

Living Wills allow your family to know what type of life support you would like and when you would like the life support to be discontinued. What type of life-prolonging treatment do you want and for how long? You also have the option to refuse all life-prolonging treatment as well. This document allows your family and care team to know your wishes.

Life Prolonged Procedure Declaration is the opposite of a Living Will. If you want every life-prolonging treatment possible, you will complete this document.

Power of Attorney and Healthcare Representative gives permission to someone you trust to make your medical and financial decisions in the event you are incapacitated or not in a mental state to do so.

Do Not Resuscitate is for those who have a chronic condition and do not wish to receive CPR or only wish to receive CPR as a comfort care. This form can also be filed with the local EMS services so they can mark your house as well.

Psychiatric Advance Directives are for a certain diagnosis and the medical care you wish to receive and reject for mental conditions.

At the end of the day, it is important to not only have these documents in place but also to share them with your family and medical team. When you have advance directives in place you save your family the stress of guessing what your wishes are in the event of an emergency.

If you need help, please reach out to your attorney or trusted legal representative. We also have a resource on Woodlawn Hospital’s website: Health Information Management – Woodlawn Hospital (Rochester, Indiana – Fulton County)

Editor's Note

Deb Van Zant is the Director of Health Information at Woodlawn Hospital.
Scroll to Top