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Health Care Agents: Appointing One and Being One

Living Will

A document that allows individuals to record instructions about their medical treatment in the event they become terminally or irreversibly ill and unable to communicate.

 

Medical Power of Attorney

A document that allows individuals to appoint a trusted friend or family member to make medical decisions on their behalf in the event they become unable to communicate.

 

Non-hospital DNR Order

A physician's order that directs emergency medical providers and other health care workers not to attempt CPR for persons being cared for at home. Laws and regulations governing their use vary from state to state.

 

Respiratory Arrest

The cessation of breathing-an event in which an individual stops breathing. If breathing is not restored, an individual's heart eventually will stop beating, resulting in cardiac arrest.

 

Palliative Care

A comprehensive approach to treating serious illness that focuses on the physical, psychological, spiritual, and social needs of the patient. Its goal is to achieve the best quality of life available to the patient by relieving suffering, controlling pain and symptoms, and enabling the patient to achieve maximum functional capacity. Respect for the patient's culture, beliefs and values are an essential component. Palliative care is sometimes called "comfort care" or "hospice-type care."

 

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

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