What does it do?
Gives instructions on the
care or treatment you wish if you become terminally ill
or permanently unconscious and cannot communicate your
Gives your family and
physician in a legal written format, direction for your
care. Provides legal removal of life-support
You (using the state tool)
When you become terminally
ill or permanently unconscious with no hope of recovery
and cannot communicate your wishes.
Durable Power of Attorney
for Health Care
Grants someone to be in
charge of your medical decision making when you are
unable to communicate your wishes.
Gives health care workers
and physicians a legal person of authority to
communicate with and receive decisions from. Speeds up
the medical decision making process.
You (using the state tool)
When you are unable to
communicate your own medical wishes.
physician order that directs medical personnel to not
provide cardiopulmonary resuscitative measures (CPR).
DNR orders are given when there is medical reason to not
provide CPR, i.e. terminal illness, or end of life is
near. This is not a tool used for the healthy adult
to prepare for future illness
Gives clarification to the healthcare providers
regarding treatment and care to provide. Focus becomes
on comfort care measures only.
death or terminal illness
Mental Health Declarative
Grants someone to be in charge of your mental health
decision-making when you are unable to communicate your
Gives health care workers and physicians a legal person
of authority to communicate with and receive decisions
from. Speeds up the medical decision making process.
(using state tool)
you are unable to communicate your own mental health
Allows you to choose organs or tissues you would like to
donate upon your death
Provides organ procurement agencies and family
instructions on your wishes.
(through Ohio BMV register)
Who Needs to Know?
After completing any of the above planning tools, it becomes
important to communicate to your family members that these tools
exist and your medical care wishes. The Living Will, Durable
Power of Attorney for Health Care, and Mental Health Declarative
also need discussed with your physician. Your physician will
discuss the DNR with you, if it is appropriate based on your
health condition. When you enter Morrow County Hospital we will
ask you if you have any of these Advance Directives (except for
Organ Donation), and we will ask for a copy to put on your
medical chart. Along with informing others about your medical
care wishes and the forms that you have completed, let family
know where you will keep the original form.
Frequently Asked Questions
- If I have a Living Will, do I need a Durable Power of
Attorney for Health Care also?
Many people will want to have both documents because they
address different aspects of your medical care. A Living Will
gives your instructions directly to your physician and it only
applies when you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious
and cannot communicate your wishes. A Durable Power of Attorney
for Health Care covers a wide range of health care decisions –
like surgical consent or changing physicians – that do not
require a patient to be dying. The proxy acts on your behalf to
make medical decisions only when you are unable to communicate
- If I have a Living Will that indicates that I do not want
life-sustaining measures when I am terminally ill or permanently
unconscious, would I
still get medication for my pain?
Yes. A Living Will only affects care that artificially or
technologically postpones death. It would never affect care that
eases pain. For example, you would continue to receive oxygen,
pain medication, and any care that would provide you comfort.
- Who makes the decision that I am dying or permanently
unconscious without hope of recovery?
Two physicians must agree that there is no hope of recovery and
the only thing that is sustaining your life is of artificial
- A Living Will may be important for a senior citizen, but why
should this be a priority for someone in their twenties?
A Living Will is designed to give you and your family peace of
mind whether you are 25 or 75 years old. If you do not want
life-sustaining measures when you were terminally ill or
permanently unconscious than a Living Will is the legal document
that you need to make that happen, regardless of being 25 or 75
- My mother is in a nursing home. If she appointed me proxy of
her Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, would this allow
me act on her behalf in every area affecting her health care?
Yes, as long as she is unable to communicate her own wishes.
- Do I have to use the standard state forms for a Living Will
and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care or can I draw up
my own documents?
In order for either form to be valid, it must include specific
language spelled out in the Ohio Revised Code. The state forms
include this language.
- What if I change my mind regarding my Living Will wishes?
Documents can be changed to reflect new wishes or documents can
be destroyed. However, when your wishes change you need to
notify those individuals/organizations that know of your wishes
of this change. They will not know of your change in wishes
until you inform them of such.
- Can I have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and a
Mental Health Declarative?
Yes, the documents deal with two separate issues, one medical
and one mental health. However, if you have both forms with two
different proxies it could become complicated as to who makes
what decision. Make sure they understand their role in
- Can I make myself a Do-Not-Resuscitate?
No. Only a physician can make someone a DNR based upon medical
justification. If you are terminally ill, your physician will
discuss this option with you.
- When I enter a hospital is my care dependent upon my organ
No. The hospital is not aware of your organ donation wishes when
providing you care. It is not until your death or imminent death
that organ donation preferences are sought. Only authorized
organ, tissue and eye recovery agencies have access to the Ohio
- Ohio Legal Rights Service.
- Ohio Hospice and Palliative
Care Organization. http://www.ohpco.org,
- Hospice of Ohio.
- Ohio Hospital Association.
- Ohio Bar Association: Light
- Lifeline of Ohio.
- Ohio Department of Mental
Health Office of Consumer Services. www.mh.state.oh.us
A Living Will is a legal written document that allows you to
state in advance your medical wishes related to end-of-life
The Living Will gives direction specifically regarding the use
of life-sustaining treatments, including mechanical ventilation
and artificially supplied nutrition and hydration.
The Living Will applies when you are determined to be terminally
ill or permanently unconscious and two physicians agree that
there is no hope of recovery. The only thing sustaining life is
the mechanical treatments. If you have a Living Will and are
deemed terminally ill or permanently unconscious you would
receive comfort care measures only; any treatments prolonging
life would be withdrawn. The Living Will only comes into effect
with terminal illness or permanent unconscious states, you would
receive medical care as usual to treat illness or injury. You
can be update, revise or destroy your Living Will.
After completing the Living Will, the person should give a copy
to their primary care physician, local hospital and family
members. Living Wills that are not communicated to others may
not be known to the healthcare providers in the medical
situation. In order for your Living Will wishes to be honored,
you must communicate its existence and your wishes to others.
Durable Power of Attorney for
A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is a legal written
document that allows you to appoint in advance of medical crisis
who you want making medical decisions on your behalf if you
become unable to communicate your medical wishes. You may
appoint a primary person with two alternatives. Those appointed
should be family, close friends, or those people that are with
you at the time of medical treatment or hospitalization.
The proxy appointed has authority to direct all medical care:
change physicians, give consent to treatment, nursing home
placement. However, this is only when you can not communicate or
make decisions on your own. Potentially you could be able to
make your own decisions one day, have a stroke and be unable to
communicate your wishes the next (Durable Power of Attorney for
Health Care making decisions), recover from the stroke and be
back to making your own decisions.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care documents should be
shared with your primary care physician, local hospital, and
those appointed on the form. If this document is not
communicated, your wishes may not be honored because no one
knows your wishes. Communication is the key to your wishes being
known and followed.
Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Comfort
Do-Not-Resuscitate Comfort Care is a physician order that
directs healthcare workers and emergency medical personnel to
not provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation measures (CPR).
This physician order is only an option if you have medical
reason to be a Do-Not-Resuscitate, such as a terminal illness or
limited life expectancy. A DNR is not a document that a
physician will complete for you if you are a medically healthy
For more information, if you are terminally ill or have limited
life expectancy, you should discuss this with your family
Mental Health Declarative
A Mental Health Declarative is a legal document that allows you
to state in advance who you would appoint to make mental health
decisions on your behalf if you become unable to communicate due
to medical illness or mental status.
This declarative works just like the Durable Power of Attorney
for Health Care, except it is for mental health decision making.
Refer to Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care link.
In Ohio, you can make your organ donation wishes known through
the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (on driver’s license or state
identification card) or by completing a form within the Living
Will. Either process gets you registered on the Ohio Donor
Registry. Organ donation wishes are not known by your healthcare
providers unless death has occurred or is very near.
Organs that can be donated include the heart, kidneys, lungs,
liver, pancreas or small bowel. Tissues that can be donated
include bone, heart valves, ligaments, veins, skin and the
corneas of the eye.
The organs/tissues are recovered for transplantation in
end-stage organ failure from those individuals on the Ohio Donor
Registry. Your status as an organ and tissue donor is only
considered after every effort has been made to save your life
and you have been declared legally dead. Your medical care is
never affected by your wishes for donation.
Organ donation is an anonymous process that ensures your gift
will go to the person(s) who needs it most. There are no age
limits for organ donation; persons less than 18 years of age
must have consent of the parent or guardian to donate.