What is an advance directive?
An advance directive lets you make decisions about your future medical treatment. It includes:
- A written statement about your future health care decisions
- Legal instructions about your upcoming medical wishes
- The name of the person who will make medical decisions for you should you become unable to do so for yourself
Advance directives help you communicate your health care preferences. That way your family and doctors won’t have to guess what you want. They can be changed anytime and they never expire.
Why is an advance directive important?
You or your family members should consider an advance directive to:
- State your health care choices if or when you are unable to speak for yourself
- Lessen the burden on loved ones
- Give you more control over what happens to you during a medical crisis
- Prevent medical over-treatment or under-treatment
- Give your loved ones peace of mind
Advance directive classes
Free seminar: "Make Sure Your Wishes are Granted — Planning Ahead.”
What is the difference between advance care planning, advance care plan and advance directive?Text
Advance care planning is thinking, talking and deciding about what matters most related to your health care decision making.
An advance care plan is any document that records your advance care plan.
An advance directive is the legal document that records your decisions.CLOSE
Can you tell me more about advance directives?Text
The advance directive usually includes:
- A person who can make medical decisions for you if you should become unable to make them for yourself (called a Health Care Agent)
- Specific treatment preferences you may have
- Other important considerations so others can know what you would want or not want
Advance directives are only valid if and when you cannot make decisions for yourself.
To make the advance directive legally binding, you must follow certain steps for signing and notarizing/witnessing. An advance directive can be changed at any time.CLOSE
What is a living will or declaration?Text
A living will or declaration states the kind of medical care you want (or do not want). It’s used if you become unable to make your own decisions. It is called a "living will" because it takes effect while you are still living.
The Nevada Legislation has used the word "declaration" as its preferred type of advance directive.CLOSE
What is Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions?Text
In Nevada, an advance directive is sometimes called a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions and Declaration.
It is a signed, dated and witnessed document. It names another person, such as a husband, wife, daughter, son or close friend, as your “health care agent" or "proxy."
This person can make medical decisions for you if you’re not able to make them for yourself. You can include instructions about any treatment you want or wish to avoid. This includes surgery or artificial feeding. Create a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.CLOSE
What is a health care agent?Text
A health care agent can communicate on your behalf about medical decisions and services in the event you become unable to speak for yourself.
Your agent can ensure that your preferences and values are respected. You choose your health care agent in your advance care plan and in your advance directive.CLOSE
What is a POLST (Physician Orders for Life-sustaining Treatment)?Text
The POLST form is an additional document designed only for seriously ill patients. It’s a form that will come with you, no matter where you are treated. It provides clear instructions on how you’d like to receive life-sustaining medical care.
To learn more, visit Nevada POLST.CLOSE
What if I already have an advance directive or declaration?Text
It’s important to review your documents from time to time. Have your wishes changed since you last reviewed your directive? Is your health care agent still available for you if needed?
It’s especially helpful to review your plan if one of the five “Ds” occurs:
- Death of family or friend
- Get a new Diagnosis
- Have a large Decline in health
- Reach a new Decade
What is the difference between the advance care planning class and the advance directive class?Text
Both classes are offered at the SMA Lifestyle Centers. In the advance care planning class, you will learn about the advance care planning process and the online advance care planning tool. You don’t need to bring anything to this class.
In the advance directive class, you can get help completing your advance directive. You can also get it notarized (signed by a witness) at the class. You can bring a print-out of your online advance care plan and/or an advance directive to the class.CLOSE
Who should I share my advance directive with?Text
It’s important to share your advance directive with anyone who needs to know what is most important to you. Include your health care agent, your doctor and anyone else who makes decisions for you if something bad happens.
This may include family, friends, clergy and others. Your plan needs to be accessible in an emergency — don’t lock it in a file cabinet.CLOSE