Hospice Care: Explaining End of Life Documents

end of life documents

When dealing with a long term or terminal illness, the last thing you want to think about is what all the different end of life documents you have to sign are for. Doctor’s bombard you with information about the disease, hospice care, and a variety of different legal forms. It’s enough to make your head spin. While there are plenty of documents that will be thrown your way, here are some of the most common hospice care forms:

  • Advance Directives

    These documents are used to allow a person to determine the type of health care options they receive in the future or who they want to make the decisions when they are unable to do so. Typically these end of life documents specify what forms of treatment the person does or does not want to receive in the event they are unable to make the decision at the time of treatment. In order to create an advanced directive, the person must be competent and mentally sound.

  • DNR Order

    A DNR order, or do-not-resuscitate order, is a document signed by the doctor and based on the patient’s wishes. This form states for medical personnel to refrain from performing any lifesaving measures required to restart the heart or breathing (such as CPR). Once the DNR order is signed, it is placed in the patient’s file/chart.

  • Financial Power of Attorney

    A legal end of life documents responsible for stating who will be responsible for handling all of the person’s financial affairs in the event the patient is unable, or does not wish, to do so. This gives the agent the ability to legally act on behalf of the grantor. This can be anything from paying their monthly bills to selling any property.

  • Hospice Consent and Release of Patient Information

    This form releases the patient into hospice care and allows the hospice provider to receive the patient’s healthcare records.

  • Living Will

    A living will is a type of advance directive stating in writing that type of wishes you have in the event you are physically or mentally unable to do so. This can provide instructions on who you want to be in charge of your medical care (Medical Power of Attorney). This can include the use of ventilators, feeding tubes, CPR measures, and more.

  • Medical Power of Attorney

    A legal document responsible for stating who is responsible for handling the person’s medical affairs in the event the patient is unable or does not wish to do so. This can involve anything from types of medication administered to when to stop life-saving options.

  • Order for Guardianship of the Person

    An order for guardianship is a court appointed person who is chosen to make all the healthcare and non-monetary decisions for a person who is unable to do so due to injury, illness, and/or disabilities.

  • Order for Guardianship of the Property

    An order for guardianship appointed by the court. The guardian is chosen to make financial decisions for the person who has been determined disabled, and therefore, unable to make financial decisions.

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