Advance Directives (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Definitions Involved in Advance Directives
Advance directives: An advance directive is a written document or series of forms that must be signed to be binding. The documents indicate an individual's choices about medical treatment.
Two types of advance directives are generally completed: a living will and a medical power of attorney (also referred to as designation of a health care surrogate or health care proxy).
Life-prolonging treatments: These are procedures that are not expected to cure your terminal condition. They generally are used to sustain life. Examples of life prolonging treatments include mechanical ventilator (breathing machine), kidney dialysis, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Terminal condition: A terminal condition is an incurable (without cure) condition that is in its terminal stages.
Persistent vegetative state: This permanent coma or state of being unconscious is caused by injury, disease, or illness. No reasonable expectation of recovery exists.
Do not resuscitate (DNR): This document tells health care professionals and emergency personnel that if your heart stops beating (cardiac arrest) or if you stop breathing (respiratory arrest) that they are not to attempt to revive you by utilizing CPR, chest compressions, intubation, or shocking the heart.
Artificial nutrition and hydration: This procedure is the administration of nutrition and fluids through IV lines and feeding tubes. IV (intravenous) hydration is a common proactice in the hospital by which fluids are delivered into veins. Tube feeding introduces liquid food through a nasal or oral tube into the stomach. Sometimes intravenous (IV) antibiotics are also included in this category. The POLST form (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) addresses the patient's preferences regarding artificial hydration and nutrition. This form can be signed by the patient or their decision maker and the treating physician.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/15/2016
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