If you are working on your estate plan, you’re probably also thinking your future medical situation. It’s a good idea to decide what choices you would like to be made in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself.

Depending on your preferences, you may want to create an advanced directive or specific medical order.

Advanced directives

An advanced directive is a document that appoints a trusted individual as a health care proxy to carry out your medical wishes. While it’s not a binding medical order, you can include all your preferences for your proxy to use with your medical provider. Many who choose to create an advanced directive talk with an attorney to choose their proxy and know what decisions they must prepare for.

Medical orders

A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order is different from an advanced directive because it is an order directed to healthcare professionals. Many who decide to have a DNR prefer a natural passing and have a terminal illness or are at risk for cardiac arrest. With a DNR, you can receive a medical card or bracelet to keep on your person so that healthcare professionals can see your order before acting. You can create the order through your doctor or New York’s Department of Health.

Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) is like a DNR but can cover other issues as well. In it, you can tell your doctor directly what you want them to perform in terms of CPR, hospitalization, ventilation, antibiotics, intubation, nutrition and hydration. Your need to create your POLST form with your doctor or medical provider.

The majority of the time, if you are looking to create a DNR or POLST order, you may also benefit from an advanced directive.