Health Care Documents

Advance Directives for Health Care

It can be very important to have a valid Advance Directive for Health Care in place, so that if you are unable to direct your own health care, the person you want to make health care choices for you will be able to direct doctors and hospitals, and will be able to have access to your health care information.

Although the basic form for the Advance Directive for Health Care is set by statute in Oregon, there are a variety of additional or special conditions which can be helpful. It can also be important to make sure that the document is filled out in a way that is internally consistent, and that all powers you wish to grant are actually granted.

Similar documents in some other states are sometimes called Living Wills. It can be important to understand that in many circumstances such documents from out of state may not be useful in Oregon, pursuant to Oregon statute.


POLST forms (Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) are different from Advance Directives for Health Care.  Directives for Health Care authorize someone else to make decisions for you when you are unable to do so.  In other words, they allow someone else to interact with doctors on your behalf.

POLSTs are orders issued by physicians, which instruct ambulance crews and others whether to take certain steps on your behalf.  These instructions can include whether or not to take emergency measures of you have stopped breathing, or whether or not to administer certain drugs or treatments.

NOTE: The above are only some of the times that one can benefit from legal advice from a person who is well versed in elder law matters, guardianships and conservatorships, Advance Directives for Health Care, power of attorney issues, similar matters. The above should not be considered legal advice, nor should it be taken as a statement of the only time that one might benefit from consulting a legal or other professional.

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