Understanding Advance Directives

This is a transcript of the video Understanding Advance Directives. This video is part of a five-part series that describes Advance Directives, which document your decisions about your medical care in the event that you cannot speak for yourself in the future.

Video: What is An Advance Directive?


Transcript: What is An Advance Directive?


At Catholic Health, our mission has its roots in a legacy of care and compassion that can be seen throughout all our hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies and health centers.

Our commitment includes providing information on how you can be an active participant in decisions that will impact your care.

It is very important to us that your wishes are followed and honored if you are in a situation when you cannot speak for yourself. Just as you have your legal and financial papers reviewed and in order, it’s important to have your healthcare papers in order too.

We hope by viewing this, you will have a better understanding of Advance Directives and you will sit down with the people you trust to have a serious conversation about your healthcare wishes.

The term Advance Directives is used to describe decisions you make now about your wishes regarding medical care when or if you cannot speak for yourself in the future.

If you do not have Advance Directives in place, New York State has a process, under the Family Health Care Decisions Act, that appoints your closest relative to make decisions for you.

Advance Directives can include four different documents.

  • The first is the Health Care Proxy.
  • The second is a DNR or “Do Not Resuscitate” form.
  • The third is a Living Will.
  • The last is the MOLST which stands for Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment.

Rev. Dale Stanley, MDiv, BCC, Manager of Spiritual Care at Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus:

Hopefully, Advance Directives are serving to keep us focused on the patient and not the complexity of the illness or the whole big range of options of treatment. We don't want to ever lose sight of the patient and what the patient's desires are and what's best for them and their family. And that's the whole purpose of Advance Directives – to keep us focused on the patient's desires and wishes and what's consistent with their faith and beliefs, not the institution's, not complex medicine's, not insurance companies', but the patient's.


Depending on your situation, you may or may not have all in place at any given time. Together, they serve as a written plan working together.

The most important thing to remember is that it is that minimally, you should have a Health Care Proxy in place.

While watching this video, you will see four sections, each explaining a specific Advance Directive. It’s a lot of information to absorb at one time – watch all the sections, and feel free to click on a specific advance directive once more to review the material again.

We also know this can be a very difficult conversation to have, but it is important at any age to take the time to make sure that others know how you want to be cared for and for you to complete the paperwork reflecting your choices.

It might be beneficial to watch this video with your family or friends so you can begin to have this important conversation.