Completing the Advance Directive Forms

Once you have decided what medical treatment options are best for you, discuss those choices and any questions you have with your family and health care provider. For each Advance Directives-related form, supply a copy for your Patient Advocate (if you have assigned one) and your primary care physician and retain one copy for yourself.

Form terminology

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

This involves applying compressions to the chest, giving drugs through a vein, electrical shocks to the heart, and artificial breathing by machine. CPR is started if your heart or breathing stops. Advanced age and serious illness affect your body's ability to recover from CPR. Successful CPR may indicate that your heart has been restarted, but it does not guarantee that you will return to your previous level of functioning. Prolonged CPR may result in permanent unconsciousness or coma.

Mechanical breathing

A tube is placed down your throat or through a hole in your neck into the lungs. A respirator machine breathes for you when your body can't breathe for you. It may help you get better, but some people may not be able to live without a respirator and need to have it all the time.

Surgery

During a surgical procedure, you are given drugs to make you sleep and internal organs are removed or repaired, such as a gall bladder, etc. Surgery can carry the risk of infection or bleeding. Recovery from surgery can be painful.

Dialysis

Dialysis can do the kidney's usual tasks of removing the waste chemicals that build up in the body. A tube is surgically implanted into a blood vessel so that the dialysis machine can be connected. Dialysis usually takes several hours and is done on a regular basis, usually 3 times a week. Dialysis does the work of the kidneys but does not cure them.

Nutrition/Hydration

Fluid may be provided through an intravenous line (IV) placed in your arm, or chest. Nutrition may be given through a tube in your nose that enters the stomach or through a tube that is surgically placed in your stomach through the belly wall. There is the risk of bleeding and infection when this tube is placed.

Transfusions

You may receive blood or blood products such as platelets or plasma through an intravenous line (IV) in your arm or chest.

Antibiotics

These drugs are used to fight infections. Antibiotics can be given by mouth. They also can be given by injection into the muscle or given through an intravenous line (IV) into your vein.

Invasive tests

Invasive testing includes procedures such as using a flexible tube to look in the stomach or lungs. Drugs may be given to help you sleep during these tests. There is risk of infection or bleeding.

Noninvasive tests

These tests involve procedures such as x-rays or blood tests that are usually not painful or have complications.