Advance Directives for Health Care


Advance Directive Brochure
Texas Health Resources - Advanced Directive Information

What is an advance healthcare directive?

An advance healthcare directive is a written instruction that you give to your Physician and members of the healthcare team regarding your treatment and care wishes.

What types of advance healthcare directives are there?

There are several types of directives. The most common type is known as a “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care” (DPAHC). This is a legal docu- ment that you can use to express your care wishes in the event that you are unable to do so.

The DPAHC is often used to:

  1. Appoint someone to act in your behalf and to make healthcare decision for you if you are unable to do so. These individuals are called “surrogate decision makers”.
  2. Express specific instructions to your healthcare team regarding such issues as end-of-life care, intensity of treatment, etc.
  3. Assure that your wishes are known and respected when care and service is provides.

Why should I have an advance directive?

It’s not a pleasant subject to think about, but the fact is there may come a day when you are hospitalized and unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself.

Having an advance directive assures that your wishes are known and respected. It also makes it easier on your family or loved ones in making decisions during a trying and difficult time.

Are advance directives permanent?

In general, an advance directive is valid until such time as you may change or amend it. There is no time limit or other restriction.

Can I change my directive?

Yes. Your directive can be changed or modified at any time. You may change your directive either in writing, or simply by verbalizing your wishes to your Physician or healthcare provider. It is recommended that any changes to your directive be made in writing.

Will you honor my advance directive?

Yes. The organization will make every effort to honor and respect your wishes. However, we cannot honor an advance directive that:

  1. Asks us to do something that is beyond our capabilities as a healthcare facility.
  2. Is contrary to State or Federal law or requirements of external regulatory and accrediting agencies.
  3. Is contrary to our own policies as mandated by our Board of Directors and/or corporate parent.

How will you know that I have an advance directive?

We would ask that you provide us with a copy of your directive so that it can be placed in your medical record. In addition, each time you are hospitalized, you will be asked if you have a directive.

How do I go about getting an advance directive?

There are several ways to obtain an advance directive for health care:

  1. Your family attorney can draw up the directive for you.
  2. We can help you complete a directive if you wish to do so.

Does that mean that you would “witness” my directive?

In general, our staff cannot act as witnesses in executing an advance directive. We can assist you with the process.