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Advance Directives

  • By: Allison M. Scott
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

An advance directive is a record of a person's preferences for future medical care that is documented when the person is capable of making such decisions in case there is ever a time when the person may not have the capacity to make medical choices. Advance directives represent formal communication about a person's goals for end-of-life care, and they can be a useful tool for guiding family members and physicians in making decisions on behalf of a person who does not have decision-making capacity due to cognitive impairment.

Advance directives take numerous forms: a living will indicates a person's wishes concerning specific end-of-life medical treatment; a do not resuscitate order instructs health care providers not to intubate or use cardiopulmonary resuscitation to revive a person's breathing ...

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