Bethesda Orthopaedic Institute

Bethesda Orthopaedic Institute

Advance Directives

Advance Directives are written instructions such as a living will or durable power of attorney for healthcare that communicate your wishes regarding treatment decisions in the event you become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions yourself. Advance Directives usually consist of a living will and designation of a healthcare surrogate.

Living wills provide direction regarding life-prolonging procedures and are only acted upon if the patient has a terminal condition, end-stage (irreversible condition) or is in a persistent vegetative state.

A healthcare surrogate is someone you appoint to make treatment decisions for you if you are unable to do so. Before appointing a healthcare surrogate you should discuss your wishes with the person you choose to ensure that they understand your wishes and would be willing to carry them out.

A durable power of attorney for healthcare should not be confused with a financial power of attorney. A healthcare durable power of attorney relates only to healthcare decision-making and provides no authority to make financial decisions. You may choose different people for assistance with your healthcare and financial decisions.

Your caregivers will ask if you have completed advance directives so that we know your wishes in the event you become incapacitated. If you have not completed Advance Directives and would like more information, please follow the steps below: