Advance Care Planning

Advance care planning is making decisions in the present about the care you would want to receive in the future if you happen to become unable to speak for yourself. Decisions about your future care are often made based on your personal values, preferences, and discussions with your loved ones, but should reflect what you want.

Advance Directive

This information will help you understand a federal law called the Patient Self-Determination Act. All hospitals and other health care institutions must inform patients of their right to agree to or refuse medical treatment. In addition, patients must be asked if they have an advance directive. If you are 18 or older and mentally competent, you have the right to make decisions about your medical treatment. If you want to control decisions about your health care, even if you become unable to make or to express them yourself, you will need an advance directive.

An advance directive is a form you sign now to direct your future health care if you cannot speak for yourself in the future. "Advance" means you tell your wishes ahead of time before you are too sick to talk. "Directive" means you direct your future health care. In this form, you state your wishes about what happens to you when you are dying or are in a coma and unable to speak.
Please do not sign this form unless a notary is present.

An Advance Directive for North Carolina-A Practical Form for All Adults


For additional information:

•Carolinas Center for Hospice and End of Life Care 800-882-8839 (toll-free) or visit
To register your advance directives online:
•Advance Health Care Directive Registry, 919-807-2167 or

Do Not Resuscitate

"DNR" stands for "do not resuscitate." This order tells medical staff not to perform CPR. Your medical provider  will speak with you about CPR, (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). It is used in case you stop breathing or your heart stops. It is helpful to decide about CPR before you are sick enough to need it.

In order to get a DNR order you must talk with your medical provider about your condition and your wishes. A medical provider will not write a DNR order without talking to you and/or your family. It is important to note that you will still receive all the care and medications you need even if you have a DNR order written by your medical provider.