Types of Health Care Decision Documents

An advance directive can be one of many different types of documents that are executed by the patient. Health care providers may also initiate documents that further outline the treatment plan for a patient or identify a health care decision maker.

Patient Executed Advance Directives Provider Executed Documents
  • Advance Directive for Health Care
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (Medical Power of Attorney)
  • Retired forms (still valid):
    • Advance Care Plan
    • Appointment of a Health Care Agent
    • Living Will
  • Provider Identification of a Surrogate
  • Code Status Order
  • POST (Physician Orders of Scope of Treatment)
  • Advance Directive for Health Care
    This form allows a person to plan their care in advance should they ever become unable to make their own medical decisions. They can do this by indicating treatments they would or would not want. Or they can choose someone to make decisions for them; that person is called a health care agent.

    The previous version of this form was called an Advance Care Plan. Properly filled out forms remain valid.

    Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
    A durable power of attorney for health care is also known as medical power of attorney for health care. This form allows a person to name a primary and alternate person to make decisions for them. 

    A past form that worked in the same way was Appointment of a Health Care Agent. While the state has retired that form, they can still be used, and past forms properly filled out remain valid.

  • Provider Identification of Surrogate
    This is a form in which a health care provider identifies someone (a surrogate) to make health care decisions for a patient who cannot make his or her own decisions. This form is used when the patient had not previously named someone or a named decision-maker is otherwise unavailable or inappropriate.

    Code Status Order
    This is a note completed by the health care provider in the medical record for hospitalized patients that documents a patients spoken wishes regarding CPR or intubation.

    Physician Order for Scope of Treatment (POST) 
    This is a physician order set describing a patient’s wishes for treatment. The POST form takes a person’s wishes and turns them into a doctor’s order set. The POST follows the patient, and works anywhere outside the acute hospital setting including but not limited to the patient’s private home, a skilled facility, and even an ambulance. It is required for a patient who does not wish to be resuscitated outside the hospital. If a patient is admitted the treating team can review the POST and determine if it still applies.