Who Will Make Health Care Decisions For You If You Are No Longer Able To Make Health Care Decisions For Yourself?
If you become sick and unable to make your own health care decisions, someone else will be appointed to make those decisions for you. If you do not have the appropriate legal tool in place, it may be necessary for a court to appoint someone (a guardian) to make health care and medical decisions for you.
The Oregon Advance Directive form allows you to choose someone to make health care and medical decisions for you when you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. You designate a spouse, partner, family member, or friend (called 'health care representative') to act legally on your behalf to make health care decisions. This document has no effect until you are incapable of making health care decisions for yourself.
Your health care representative will be authorized to make most health care decisions you could have made. This can include the authority to withdraw life support procedures, such as respirators or artificial nutrition and hydration. The Advance Directive is your statement to your family and your doctor regarding your wishes about life support. You direct that if your death is imminent because of a terminal disease or injury, you do or do not want artificial life support procedures used to postpone your natural moment of death.
The Advance Directive replaces the Directive to Physicians and the Health Care Power of Attorney. In 1993, Oregon combined the two different documents into one document, the Advance Directive. If you signed the Directive to Physicians prior to November 4, 1993, the document may still be valid. However, the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care expired automatically after seven years. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you update your decisions by using the Advance Directive form.
The Advance Directive form has two main parts, which correspond to the documents used prior to 1993. Under Part B of the Advance Directive, you may appoint a health care representative to make health care decisions for you in the event you are temporarily or permanently unable to do so. You may also appoint an alternate health care representative. Your health care representative(s) must act in accordance with your desires, to the extent those desires are known.
Under Part C of the Advance Directive, you may give instructions regarding whether or not you want tube feeding or life support if you are in one of the four serious conditions described in Part C.
You may execute either Part B or Part C or both parts of the Advance Directive. If you have questions about the form or how to sign it, we would be glad to help.