Advance Directives

In New York State, there are four types of Advance Directives. These are the best ways to ensure that a paitent's wishes are known and honored.

  1. A Health Care Proxy (PDF) lets a patient appoint a healthcare agent - someone they trust to make health care decisions for them if they are unable to make decisions themselves.
  2. A Living Will allows a patient to leave written instructions that explain their healthcare wishes, especially about end-of-life care. A Living Will cannot be used to name a health care agent; a Health Care Proxy must be used for this purpose.
  3. A Living Will together with a Health Care Proxy allows a patient to state their health care wishes and name a health care agent.
  4. A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order only lets a patient express their wish to do without CPR if their heart or breathing stops.

Everyone over 18 years of age should complete a Health Care Proxy, which allows them to appoint any competent adult (18 years or older) as their health care agent. A patient cannot appoint their doctor as their health care agent unless their doctor is their spouse or a relative.

Although both a Living Will and a Health Care Proxy are advance directives, they are not the same thing.

For more detailed information, please review the information at the following link: Patients' Rights in New York State