Family Medicine

End-of-Life Planning Information

What would happen if you were in a car wreck and couldn't speak for yourself?
What if you were seriously ill and needed someone to make medical decisions for you?
What if you or a family member didn't want to be resuscitated from a massive heart attack?


Advance directives allow you to plan and make decisions NOW about your health care decisions or end-of-life wishes. This is especially important in the event something happens to you and you are unable to communicate these wishes for yourself.

We encourage you to talk to your family and your healthcare providers whenever you are ready.

In the meantime, here are some brochures* that may answer questions you may have or give you and or your caretakers guidance.

Below is a list of handy forms* recommended to have on file. It is important for everyone in the family to have Advance Directives in order.

* Brochures and Forms from Texas Department of Health and Human Services

I've filled out the forms, now what?
  • Your directives are very important legal documents. Keep your original signed copy in a secure place. Make sure your family or caregiver knows where they are kept and can get to them if needed.
  • Please give a copy of the signed original documents to anyone who might be involved in your health care. This may include family, friends, pastor, caregiver or primary care provider. If you enter a nursing home or hospital, have photocopies of the documents placed in your medical records. Be sure to discuss your wishes with these individuals at this time. Discuss these wishes often, particularly if your condition changes or worsens.
  • Ask your primary care provider to save a copy of your directives into your electronic medical record so they may be accessed by anyone providing care to you in the future.
  • You may make changes to your wishes at any time. Please be sure to resign and date your documents then redistribute to all who have the original copies.

It is important to note that you may revoke your documents either verbally or in writing at any time.

  • Also be advised that your directives will not be effective in the event of a medical emergency. Ambulance and hospital emergency staff are required to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) unless they are given a separate directive that states otherwise. These directives called "DO-NOT-RESUSCITATE ORDERS" (DNRs) are designed for people whose poor health gives them little chance of benefiting from CPR. A DNR instructs ambulance and hospital emergency staff to not attempt CPR if your heart stops or you are not breathing.

Note:The above provided forms and information is not a substitute for professional legal advice. While UTMB Health Family Medicine makes every effort to keep forms and links up-to-date, changes in Texas law can affect how the form will operate in the event you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. If you have any questions about how the form will help ensure your wishes are carried out, or if your wishes do not seem to align with these forms, you may wish to talk with your health care provider or an attorney with experience in completing advance directives.

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