This is a legal document that outlines patient wishes concerning medical treatment in case the individual is unable to decide. Or simply put a medical power of Attorney ( known as advanced directive)is a legal document used to designate someone to make important health decisions on your behalf when you become incompetent and unable to communicate your wishes to your doctor, especially when you are comatose. This information should be documented on plan of care and on patient records.


Everyone need the information provided to them. It is a very important information.

On Admission: During admission every patient that is admitted is asked about their advanced Health Care Directive.Most of the time their response will be “NO”.But if they do you (as the Registered nurse) will collect a copy from the patient and put it in the chart. If the patient said that he has no record, you should ask if they wish to have one completed ,and have a surrogate health care decision maker. In case patient was undecided during admission.

It can be refer to as any of the following in your State.

Durable power of Attorney of health care.

Advanced directive.

Healthcare power of Attorney ( Healthcare POA)

Medical POA( Power of Attorney)

If patient don’t have an health care Directive, information will be made available for the patient as desired. But if the status of Advance Directive is unclear or unknown. The nurse will attempt to complete information regarding patient stand on Advance Directive.If it is not documented .There should be an indication in the plan of care to follow up. If a patient wants to write one ,he or she should be refer to the Social services.If patient didn’t want advanced Directive or patient did not have it, should be documented on the plan of care.

POLST ORDERS?.( Physician order for Life Sustaining Treatment)

What is your understanding of this?.

Is it the same as Advanced Directive or a complement of Advanced Directive?.

What does POLST form outlines as patient options?.

Please read up on that.

California probate Code 4700 to 4701.


Published by edochie99

A Registered Nurse with over twenty years of hospital experience, an author with Masters Degree in Nursing,also Bachelor Degree in Nursing,graduated in 1996 from USC,University of Southern California.MSN in 2009 University of Phoenix.

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