Navigate Up

Advance Directives

An advance directive spells out a person's wishes and instructions for medical care when the person is not able to voice his or her decisions. This document often names a trusted person as a proxy, who is legally allowed to make medical decisions on behalf of the patient.

Examples of advance directives include:

  • Living wills
  • Resuscitation refusal orders
  • Durable powers of attorney

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.

The UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute offers expert guidance to patients and families who seek the peace of mind an advance directive can provide. We also can provide psychological support and guidance to patients and family members who are unsure how to begin a conversation about advance directives.

Learn More About Advance Care Planning

To learn more about preparing an advance directive for yourself or your loved one, visit our Advance Care Planning website​.​​​​

Contact Us

For more information, or to talk with someone about advance care planning, contact the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute at:


Learn more about advance care planning (PDF).​

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences | Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA |