Patients & Visitors

Advance Directive

What is an Advance Directive/Living Will?

There are three types of advance directive:

  1. An Instruction Directive

  2. A Proxy Directive

  3. A Combined Directive

An Instruction Directive, also called a "Living Will," allows you to state what kinds of medical treatments you would accept or reject in certain situations. This is a legal document in which you state the kind of health care you want or don’t want under certain circumstances. It reflects your values and beliefs regarding medical care and end-of-life choices.

A Proxy Directive, "Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care," or “Medical Power of Attorney” allows you to name a "health care representative," such as a family member or friend, to make health care decisions on your behalf. This person (or proxy) can decide on treatments for you only when you can’t express your wishes. But you do not have to be at the end of your life. He or she could speak for you if you were in a coma but were likely to recover.

Your proxy’s duty is to make the health care decisions that you would have made. If your wishes aren’t known, your proxy should try to decide what you would want. Your proxy is allowed to make choices about your healthcare. Your proxy has no control over your money. Your proxy also can’t be made to pay your bills. You should name one person as your proxy, then name one or two alternates in case your first choice is unavailable to serve. Choose someone you trust. Tell that person what your wishes are or incorporate them in the document – (see Instruction Directive) and make sure that he or she is willing to carry out your wishes.

A Combined Directive allows you to do both: name a health care representative and tell that person your treatment wishes. A Combined Directive also prevents an earlier directive from being deemed to revoke a later one, which can happen if instruction and proxy directives are made at different times.

If you are 18 years or older, you can complete your own advance directive. You do not need an attorney to fill it out, although you may wish to consult with one to understand your rights. Sample forms can be obtained from the Medical Library, the Admitting Office or Patient Relations or you can print out documents from this website.

Your Instruction Directive document must be signed by two witnesses or notarized.

Once you have completed your advance directive, you should discuss it with your physician and give him/her a copy. A copy should also be given to your healthcare representative (proxy), family member (s) or others close to you. Bring a copy with you when you are admitted to a hospital, nursing home or other healthcare agency. Your advance directive becomes part of your medical record.

In accordance with the Patient Self-Determination Act of 1991, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center actively supports your right to control decisions about your healthcare through the completion of advance directives.

Your physician or a member of our staff can provide you with more information about our policies on advance directives. Each state has its own rules about what a proxy can or can’t do, or who may be selected as a proxy. If you would like additional assistance, please contact our Patient Relations Representatives at (201) 894-3368.