Medical Care Preferences

South Central Health highly recommends creating Advance Directives, written instructions regarding medical care preferences. Medical providers will consult advance directives once the patient is unable to make his or her own health care decisions. These directives can include a designation of a medical Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (POA), a Living Will, and a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR).  Advance Directives are not only good for elderly, but for all ages in case of a medical emergency.

If you would like to start an Advance Directive process, contact South Central Health Social Services at 701.452.2326.

Durable Power of Attorney For Health Care

  • You choose someone you trust to make health care decisions if you ever become unable.
  • You may include guidelines and limitations you wish your agent to follow as well as circumstances you want medical care withheld or withdrawn.
  • It includes all health care decisions, including requesting or refusing treatment or care.
  • It applies to any kind of illness or injury that incapacitates you and leaves you unable to speak for yourself.
  • It can be flexible to changing circumstances.
  • It is easily revoked, orally or in writing.
  • It must be signed and witnessed by two qualified witnesses neither of whom can be the agent or employed by the health care facility. One must be unrelated to the person and not a beneficiary or heir of the estate.
  • It does not recognize another state’s Durable Power (Proxy).

Living Will

  • Spells out, in writing, under what circumstances you want medical care withdrawn or withheld.
  • You spell out in writing under what circumstances you want medical care withheld or withdrawn.
  • It refers only to withholding or withdrawing care.
  • It applies only when your physician determines that you are in a terminal condition and are unable to speak for yourself.
  • It is static and may not cover every possible medical situation.
  • It is easily revoked, orally or in writing.
  • It must be signed and witnessed by two unrelated persons.
  • It recognizes declarations legally valid in other states.

Do Not Resuscitate Order

A DNR is a medical order written by a doctor. It instructs health care providers not to do CPR or defibrillation if your heart stops or intubation if breathing stops.  A DNR order allows you to choose, before an emergency occurs, whether you want CPR, defibrillation, and intubation. It does not affect other treatments, such as pain medicine, medicines, or nutrition.

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