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Planning for Medical Care with Advance Directives

You probably know the importance of having a will, but are you familiar with advance directives and understand their importance? Advance directives are needed if there comes a time when an individual is unable to make health care decisions for themselves. 

Federal law states that each patient is in charge of their own medical care and medical decisions. How can you be in charge of your medical care if you are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease or are permanently unconscious? If you have advance directives in place, your wishes for your medical care will be known by your team of caregivers.

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What Are Advance Directives?

Advance directives are important documents that can help ensure your wishes or a loved one’s are followed if either of you are unable to make your own decisions about your medical care. There are three types of advance directives: living wills, medical powers of attorney for health care, and durable powers of attorney.

It is important to talk to your doctor about advance directives and to complete the appropriate forms. You should also discuss your wishes with your family and friends so that they know what you want. Advance directives can give you peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be followed.

How Do I Prepare My Advance Directives?

Most people will contact an attorney to prepare their advance directives. Some may choose an online service that guides you through a series of questions to prepare your documents. In either case, there are a series of steps that the National Institute of Aging recommends:

  1. Reflect on your values and wishes.
  2. Talk with your doctor about advance directives.
  3. Choose someone you trust to make medical decisions for you.
  4. Complete your advance directive forms with your attorney or online service.
  5. Share your forms with your healthcare proxy, doctors, and loved ones.


In the state of Texas, it is important to know that an Out of Hospital DNR (OOH-DNR) is required for DNR orders outside of a hospital setting. This form instructs emergency medical personnel and other health care professionals to forgo resuscitation attempts and to permit the patient to have a natural death with peace and dignity.

Download OOH-DNR

Are Advance Directives the Same as a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order?

A DNR is used to express the wish to refuse CPR in the case of an emergency. A DNR order can be part of advance directives, but is not required to be. Individuals can sign a DNR at their doctor’s office. The order will become part of their medical file. DNRs are typically used by older people and those with serious illness.

Remember to talk to your family and caregivers about your wishes. Let them know you have a DNR order on file with your doctor.


Keep the Conversation Going

Continue to talk about your wishes with your loved ones and your healthcare proxy.  Update your forms at least once a year, after major life changes, or after changes in your health.

Here are some additional resources on advance directives:

We Care

We care deeply about our clients and their families. While we provide expert care for a variety of needs–ADLs, IADLs, companionship, medication management, and dementia care–we recognize that this is only a piece of a larger picture. As you develop a care plan for yourself or your loved ones, we encourage you to ensure that estate planning and advance directives are included. Having a plan in place provides peace of mind for everyone. And peace of mind makes room for more joyful moments. 

Have the conversation about advance directives and remember–keep the conversation going.

To learn more about home care services at Inspired Care Solutions, please contact us at (830) 225-2273.

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