Advance Care Planning

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Advance Directives

At any time during a life-limiting illness, it is important to discuss all your healthcare options, including Hospice. By law, the decision belongs to the patient, so make your wishes known to your family, providers and caregivers. Hospice of Marion County provides free Living Wills, shown at right.

You may download this 4-page Living Will, a simple document that expresses end-of-life wishes and names a Health Care Surrogate in case you are unable to speak for yourself. No lawyer is required and there are no fees.

A user-friendly document called The Five Wishes ensures that the patient’s desires are followed. They are legal in most states, require only witness signatures, and also are available from Hospice of Marion County.

What are Advance Directives?

They are legal documents that include a living will or a durable power of attorney for healthcare, also known as a healthcare proxy. Either document allows you to give directions about your future medical care. It’s your right to accept or refuse medical care. Advance directives can protect this right if you ever become mentally or physically unable to choose or communicate your wishes due to an injury or illness.

Advance Directives can:

  • protect your rights to make medical choices that can affect your life.
  • let families avoid the responsibility and stress of making difficult decisions.
  • assist physicians by providing guidelines for your care.
  • protect people who may not be able to communicate due to:
    1. irreversible brain damage or brain disease, which can affect their ability to think as well as communicate
    2. permanent coma (or other unconscious states), which can leave them unconscious and without hope of recovery
    3. terminal illness—a condition from which a person is expected to die within a short period of time (these illnesses may lead to brain damage and loss of consciousness)
  • limit life-prolonging measures when there’s little or no chance of recovery. They enable patients to make their feelings known about:
    1. cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)—used to restore stopped breathing and/or heartbeat.
    2. intravenous (IV) therapy—used to provide food, water, and/or medication through a tube placed in a vein.
    3. feeding tubes—inserted through the nose or throat to provide nutrition.
    4. ventilators –respirators are used to keep patients breathing.
    5. dialysis— A method of cleaning blood when the kidneys no longer work properly.
Some special issues

  • “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) Orders—allows you to refuse attempts to restore heartbeat. Discuss this option with your physician.
  • Organ donation—state your wishes to donate specific organs (or your entire body).
  • Specific treatments—In addition to pain control, you may request or refuse tube feeding and other medical procedures.

Five WishesFive Wishes

is a unique document that not only addresses your choice for a health care surrogate and the kind of medical treatment you want or don’t want, but also offers you an opportunity to express your personal, emotional and spiritual wishes. Written in language that is easy to understand, Five Wishes can help you think through and talk about what you want for yourself at the end of life, both with loved ones and with your doctor.
If you would like to order Five Wishes, visit or call 1.888.5.WISHES. You can also order and complete 5 Wishes online.

Hospice of Marion County provides copies of Five Wishes at no charge to members of our community who live in Marion County. To request your free copy, please call 352-854-5230 or e-mail


The above information on advance directives is provided as a courtesy and should not be relied upon as legal advice. There are statutory provisions that address and set forth specific requirements for each of the advance directives listed above that are not discussed in this general information. You should consult an attorney regarding such requirements and any questions you may have regarding your legal rights and responsibilities.