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Duke University Doctor in Nursing Practice
The students of the 2012 Health Systems Transformation courseinvite you to talk about Advanced Directives. The challenge presented by our professor Dr. Nancy M. Short, became a passion with students vested in communicating this important message to the nation.
To learn more about the Duke University DNP Advance Directive Initiative visit us at our YouTube channel: CAREforEndofLife
Advance Directives is not just about those decisions that often happen during the twilight years to those of us who have the opportunity to live long and fruitful lives.  We are also talking about young adults that either have a terminal illness or a devastating accident.  We never know when the very tough choices will have to be made on our behalf.

This is why an Advanced Directive is so important.  An Advance Directive, or Living Will, is different than a living trust or your Will.  Those documents enumerate your choices for possessions after transition.  We want to discuss you choices before and possibly during your death.

An Advanced Directive is different than a Do Not Resuscitate order or DNR.  A  DNR specifically is about on the spot emergency resuscitation of breathing or heartbeat.  If this is a decision you are in a position to make in your life, we suggest you discuss this with your family, you provider, and your Health Care Agent or Durable Power of Attorney.  If you have made that decision it is a great idea to wear a DNR bracelet or necklace so emergency personnel can easily identify your wishes.

The depth that an Advanced Directive can go into is unlimited.  You get to make all of the choices and be clear about anything “special” that you might want at the end of life.  The Advanced Directive specifically addresses your wishes about:

  • The person that you want to make care decisions for you when you can’t,
  • The kind of medical treatment you want or don’t want,
  • How comfortable you want to be,
  • How you want people to treat you at end of life, and
  • What you want your loved ones to know.

There is a very simple form that is recognized in 42 states to easily, comfortably and kindly walk a person and their family through these tough decisions.  That document is called “5 Wishes.”  There are other forms that are recognized and every state will have the appropriate form listed on the State Website.

Once you fill out your advance directive you should sign it and have it witnessed.  Some states require it also to be notarized.  Keep the original in a special place in your home but NOT in a safe deposit box.  It should always be accessible.  You should make sure that you Power of Attorney for Health Care or Health care agent has a copy as do your family members and others who care for you.  Additionally, your Primary Care Provider should have a copy.  There are also wallet cards that can be filled out.  Finally, you can, for a small fee, register your Advance Directive with the  For more information you can go to that website or just do a simple web search.

We ask you, please take the time to make your wishes known and protect your family from having to make the hardest decisions of your life during their grief.

For more information call 1-877-209-8086 or

If you want to learn more about the Duke University DNP Advance Directive Initiative visit us at our YouTube channel: CAREforEndofLife