Advance directives

Advance directives are legal documents that give direction to medical personnel and your loved ones about your wishes for care when you can’t speak for yourself or make informed decisions, perhaps due to illness, confusion or loss of consciousness.

You don’t need a lawyer to complete an advance directive. In the state of Ohio, this includes:

  • Health Care Power of Attorney – allows you to name someone as your “agent” to make all your health care decisions when you’re unable to speak for yourself.
  • Living Will – gives written direction about your care when you’re terminally ill or in a permanently unconscious state and unable to speak for yourself. This document overrides your Healthcare Power of Attorney in specific situations. If you want more information, copies of the advance directive forms or assistance completing an advance directive, please contact Social Work anytime Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
    • The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center: 614-293-8427
    • East Hospital: 614-257-3257
  • Choices: Living Well at End of Life


Code status

A code status is assigned to every patient, to provide guidance to medical providers about how to care for you.

There are three different code status options for every patient in the state of Ohio:

  • Full Code – Full code means that if a person’s heart stopped beating and/or they stopped breathing, all resuscitation procedures will be provided to keep them alive. This process can include chest compressions, intubation and defibrillation, and is referred to as CPR. This is the default code status for all patients unless they have had an explicit conversation with their medical provider to indicate otherwise.
  • DNRCC-A – You will be treated as a full code, until your heart or breathing stops. If your heart or breathing stops, you will be kept comfortable until you die naturally. CPR or other resuscitation efforts will not be taken.
  • DNRCC – The focus of your care is on comfort only. You will no longer receive frequent lab and vitals checks, and your medical team will have more liberty with providing higher doses of pain or anxiety medications to help keep you comfortable. Most patients will consider transitioning to hospice care when this code status is implemented. Please speak with your doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant if you would like to execute a DNR or discuss your code status in greater detail. You can change your code status at any time.

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