If you have definite preferences as to the kind of health care you do and do not wish to receive when you become seriously ill, injured, incapacitated or reach the end of your life, you may wish to consider creating an advance health care directive. As the Mayo Clinic explains, your advance health care directive is a written, legally binding document that sets forth your health care wishes and designates the person you want to carry them out if you are too ill, injured or impaired to make your own decisions. 

Michigan allows for two types of advance health care directives. The first, called a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, can be as detailed as you desire and applies to the treatment you receive at all inpatient and ambulatory facilities within the University of Michigan system of hospitals and health centers. The second, called at Do Not Resuscitate Declaration, applies to non-hospital situations and is specific only to CPR. In other words, it tells health care professionals not to perform CPR on you in the event your heart stops beating and/or you stop breathing. 

Obviously a DPOA-HC is far more comprehensive than a DNR Declaration. In it you can itemize all the things you want and do not want, including the following: 

  • CPR – restarting of your heart 
  • Mechanical ventilation – using a machine to breathe for you 
  • Dialysis – using a machine to cleanse your blood 
  • Tube feeding – supplying you with hydration and nutrients by IV 
  • Palliative care – using drugs to minimize your pain and make you more comfortable 
  • Infection control – using drugs to treat and minimize the effects of your viruses and/or bacterial infections 

Your DPOA-HC can also include whether or not you want to donate any of your organs or tissues once you die or if you want to donate your body as a whole to science.