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Preparing for Hard Decisions

What individuals can do

Advance Directives

If you become unable to express your wishes directly, you have a much better chance of receiving the healthcare you want if you have communicated open with those who care for you. One of the best tools for this communication is the Advance Directive.

What is an Advance Directive?
An Advance Directive is a form that allows you to tell others what healthcare you want if you cannot communicate because of injury or illness. It makes your wishes known before any medical problems or crises arise.

Why do I need an Advance Directive?
If you are ever unable to communicate your desire for medical treatment because of an accident, stroke, coma or other illnesses, the Advance Directive can speak for you. It also allows you to choose someone to speak for you if you are unable to communicate your wishes about your medical treatment.

What does an Advance Directive look like?
There are three parts:

Part A: A fact sheet explaining your rights to decide your own healthcare.

Part B: Appoints a Health Care Representative. This is someone named by you to direct your healthcare when you cannot speak for yourself.

Part C: Health Care Instructions. This allows you to indicate how you would like decisions about your healthcare to be made in case you become unable to make decisions for yourself.

Who needs an Advance Directive?
You do...if you are 18 or older.

Where do I get an Advance Directive?
You can get one from your nearest healthcare facility or by calling Oregon Health Decisions at (800) 422-4805. Lawyers or doctors may have the form or may help you obtain one.

Do I need a lawyer?
No! While the Advance Directive is a legal document, you do not need a lawyer to complete or file it.

Once completed, what should I do with the Advance Directive?
Make copies and share it with your doctor, relatives, close friends, spiritual advisor and/or lawyer.

What healthcare professionals can do

Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

POLST is a form recognized throughout the State of Oregon as a means to communicated physician orders for life-sustaining treatment. The order addresses decisions related to resuscitation, IV fluids, nutrition and antibiotics. The form is initiated in a physician's office. For additional information, see the POLST website.

Linfield College Certificate in Health Care Ethics

Linfield's program has two goals:

1. Provide the practitioner with the knowledge and skills required to understand ethical problems and to be able to address them appropriately.

2. Give the student the necessary conceptual skills to enter effectively into the ethical discourse of the health profession.

The Linfield Portland Campus is located in Northwest Portland on the campus of Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center. 

More resources