Important Documents

Our Oncology Social Work team is available to assist you as you begin planning and we’re able to help you prepare several important documents. Although these documents don’t guarantee your wishes will be followed, they do help guide your family and healthcare team if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

An Advance Directive (AD) is a generic term that your healthcare team will use to describe a document that conveys which treatment(s) you do and don’t want to receive if you are unable to tell your oncologist what you want. Your AD also typically details whether you wish to be resuscitated in the event your heart stops. A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order means that you don’t want CPR if your heart stops.

You may revise your AD at any time before, during or after treatment. Be sure your healthcare team has a copy of your current AD. It is also critical that you discuss your wishes with your friends, family members and Heath Care Proxy.

There are several online resources where you can quickly and inexpensively create a Living Will/Advance Directive that will be legal in your state. When you have completed the advance directive document, share copies with your family, healthcare team, hospital and health care proxy.

Your Health Care Proxy (HCP) document will identify the person you want to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make your own. This person, or proxy, may also be known as your durable power of attorney for healthcare.

The HCP is different from the Durable Power of Attorney. A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) names a person who has the power to make legal decisions for you. Your HCP and DPOA may be the same person, if you so choose.

In addition to the legal documents, be sure your health care proxy, family members or the person you most trust have access to information about all your will, living will/ advance directives, credit cards, bank accounts, phone numbers, email accounts, investment accounts, and any other documents they may need in the event you cannot make decisions for yourself. We recommend you keep a file in a safe place that includes all these important documents.