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Advance Directives: UPMC Patient Information

An advance directive is a written document that expresses an individual's wishes for medical care if he or she becomes incompetent or incapacitated.

Preparing an advance directive gives peace of mind — both to patients and to their loved ones. By making important decisions ahead of time, you can ensure that your wishes will be carried out.

Advance directives may include:

  • Living wills: A legal document that communicates wishes about lifesaving medical treatments in the event you have a terminal condition and are unable to communicate health care directives.
  • Health care agents: A person you appoint — such as a spouse, adult child, friend, or faith leader — to make health care decisions should you become unable to do so.
  • Health care (or durable) powers of attorney: A document that makes your choice of a health care agent legally effective.

When you are admitted to the hospital, a staff member will ask you if you have already prepared an advance directive. If you have, and a copy is available, your nurse or other staff member will place your advanced directive in your medical record.

If you would like information about writing advance directives or making decisions about life-sustaining treatment, see the resources below or talk to your doctor.

Advance Directive Resources

From UPMC:

From other websites (links will open a new window):

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UPMC
200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2582
412-647-UPMC (8762)
1-800-533-UPMC (8762)

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Download the PDF about advance medical planning (link opens a new window).

For more information about advanced directives, download Making Medical Decision in Advance (PDF).

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