The 2017 legislative battle over proposed deadly changes to Oregon’s advance directive has highlighted the importance of this document. Oregon has a good advance directive and Oregonians should take advantage of this document which addresses health care decisions at the end of life.
Advance directives become essential when a person becomes unable to make health care decisions for themselves. Before that stage is reached, Oregon Right to Life recommends that a trusted person be appointed to be the one to make decisions for the patient if he or she becomes incapacitated. The advance directive is underused and, while a directive is not necessary for everyone at the end of life, it is vitally important for many end-of-life decisions.
Oregon law requires that “living wills” and “durable powers of attorney” for health care decisions must be set forth in a standard form called an Advance Directive. Part B of this form is called “Appointing a Health Care Representative.” Oregon Right to Life recommends that you complete this section. Use Part B to appoint someone you trust as your health care representative to make end-of-life treatment decisions for you when you are no longer capable of making those decisions for yourself. There is ample room to write any specific instructions you may wish to give
However, since it is impossible to know the many circumstances you may face, the less specific the instructions, the more freedom your health care representative has in making decisions that are appropriate for your specific situation.
Part C may limit the decisions your health care representative can make. Oregon Right to Life encourages you to leave Part C blank.
Fill out Part D and Part E to finish the authorization for your health care representative. Make sure you, your physician, and your health care representative have copies.
Filling out an advance directive will give you and your loved ones peace of mind. You can download a copy of the directive at Oregon Right to Life’s website at www.ortl.org/advance-
directives-polst or at www.oregon.gov/DCBS/shiba/ Documents/advance_directive_ form.pdf.