advance directive

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ad·vance di·rec·tive

a legal document giving instructions as to the type and degree of medical care to be administered in the event that the person signing the document becomes mentally incompetent during the course of a terminal illness, or becomes permanently comatose (that is, persistent vegetative state).
See also: living will.

State legislatures have enacted so-called Death with Dignity Laws to protect the rights of patients to refuse medical care, including life-prolonging and palliative care in terminal illness, as well as to clarify the role of physicians and indemnify them against the accusation of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide when they withhold such care in compliance with patients' wishes. These laws spell out strict procedural requirements, including the need for the signing of an advance directive to be duly witnessed, and make it easier to revoke an advance directive than to establish one. When an advance directive provides instructions for the types of care the patient does or does not want to receive, it is known as a living will. When it names another person to make such decisions, it is known as a durable power-of-attorney for health care decisions. An advance directive can contain both types of instruction. An agent making end-of-life decisions on behalf of a patient is required to follow the patient's instructions, interpreting them when necessary in the light of the patient's personal philosophy, religious beliefs, and ethical values, and with due consideration for the likelihood that the patient will regain competency or will recover.

advance directive

n.
A legal document in which the signer gives directions or designates another person to make decisions regarding the signer's health care if the signer becomes incapable of making such decisions.

advance directive

Etymology: Fr, avancer, to move forward; L, dirigere, to direct
an advance declaration of treatment preferences in case a person is unable to communicate his or her wishes. See durable power of attorney for health care, living will.

Advance Directive

A verbal or written statement or statements by an individual which delineate not only those medical treatments that he/she does not want in the event that he/she becomes incapable of making an informed decision in the future, but also those that he/she finds acceptable.

advance directive

Advance medical directive, self-determination Medical ethics Instruction(s) that provide a mentally competent person with a
Advance directive types
Living will,
in which the person outlines-usually in writing, specific treatment guidelines to be followed by health care providers
Health care proxy
Power of attorney for healthcare decision making, proxy to make the health care decisions. The person designates a trusted individual to make medical decisions in the event of inability to make such decisions
  vehicle for directing his/her own treatment in the event of serious illness and/or loss of mental ability to communicate those wishes; in an AD, the person indicates in advance, how treatment decisions are to be made with regard to the use of artificial life support. See DNR orders, Durable powers of attorney, Euthanasia, Living will.

ad·vance di·rec·tive

(ăd-vans' dĭr-ek'tiv)
A legal document with written instructions signed by the patient (or the patient's designee if the patient cannot sign) stating the type of care measures and services that are or are not to be provided to prolong life in the event of a life-threatening illness.
Synonym(s): durable power of attorney (1) .

ad·vance di·rec·tive

(ăd-vans' dĭr-ek'tiv)
Legal document giving instructions as to the type and degree of medical care to be administered in the event that the person signing the document becomes mentally incompetent during the course of a terminal illness, or becomes permanently comatose.
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