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Patients’ Healthcare Directives in Nursing Context

The Advance Health Care Directive

The analyzed advanced directive (AD) form was obtained from my current organization. This document is usually available to patients receiving medical services from different health facilities across the state of Florida. After analyzing it carefully, I observed that it was prepared in accordance with the existing law. For instance, it allows people to make their medical decisions in advance. Such individuals can identify the right health professionals and family members to make the relevant medical decisions when necessary. The obtained copy also requires that the directive is signed in the presence of two witnesses who should also put their signature. One of such individuals should be a non-relative to the patient. The relevant information or details required by the state law are indicated, such as the provision for the need to have a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNRO) and a durable power of attorney (“Consumer guides,” n.d.). Basically, the selected document complies with the state law regarding the issue of Advance Health Care Directive.

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In Florida, patients are entitled to make the necessary decisions concerning their wellbeing and health. This means that the law empowers them to either refuse or choose medical support and treatment (“Consumer guides,” n.d.). During times of incapacitation, caregivers and physician should respect their patients’ rights. Chapter 765 of Florida Statutes reveals that such individuals are empowered to provide advance directives to instruct their physicians to withdraw health support, provide care, or allow other people to make appropriate medical decisions on their behalf. According to Kapp (2016), the law compels nursing homes, hospitals, and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) to provide adequate information to patients so that they can make the right decisions regarding their health care advance directives.

It was easy for me to complete the acquired AD. For instance, it was possible to offer information or answers without having to undertake additional research or relate them to the discussions presented in the studied textbook. This means that many people in need of this service will have minimal difficulties when completing their AD forms (“Health care,” n.d.). Additionally, my organization has a customer support desk that guides those who might encounter various difficulties. The procedures for engaging two witnesses are easy for any person. Unfortunately, those who lack adequate information about an advance directive can find it hard to complete it successfully. The state, therefore, requires health professionals to provide adequate information regarding the use of an AD.


A Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form is document that physicians use to communicate with their patients and provide specific medical orders that healthcare professionals should consider whenever there is a medical crisis. POLST makes it possible for emergency centers to give evidence-based treatment before considering any other alternative (“About POLST,” n.d.). This form is usually completed when a physician realizes that he or she might not be worried if the specified patient were to die within a year (“About POLST,” n.d.). It is appropriate for individuals who have serious or terminal diseases.

A POLST form is usually completed by a licensed health care provider or professional. The physician should focus on the patient’s best treatment regime depending on his or her current illness. The professional goes further to incorporate the healthcare wishes and preferences of the identified patient (“About POLST,” n.d.). This information is then recorded in such a way that it is standardized and visible to any caregiver. The POLST form will be legal if it has the signatures of both the health professional and the patient.

AD, POLST, and Role of RNS

The above two sections have described the nature and relevance of advanced health care directives and POLST forms. It is agreeable that the two differ significantly and play critical roles throughout the healthcare delivery process. A POLST is critical since it gives a succinct summary of the wishes and expectations of a patient whose prognosis is less than a year. This document does not allow patients to designate a preferred healthcare professional or surrogate. It is explicit in nature and guides clinicians to offer the best treatment to patients. On the other hand, an advance directive is usually a legal document that makes it possible for patients to share their medical expectations should they be unable to speak (Kapp, 2016). Such individuals can designate specific people who can work in the medical team and relatives or friends who can make the most appropriate healthcare decisions for them. In a health crisis, medical experts will consider this legal document in order to understand whether the patient requires immediate treatment or not.

Registered Nurses (RNs) should be on the frontline to educate and guide patients to make the best decisions regarding their future health outcomes and experiences. This is something necessary since many states have laws that give citizens autonomy over their medical experiences. When RNs empower patients, chances are high that they will select the most appropriate interventions depending on their medical conditions (Hooper, 2016). With this kind of assurance, chances are high that more people will select the best professionals and health procedures and eventfully realize their potential. In conclusion, patients who are informed, guided, and empowered will be in a position to focus on their rights to autonomy and eventually receive high-quality services.

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About POLST. (n.d.). Web.

Consumer guides: Health care advance directives. (n.d.). Web.

Health care advance directives. (n.d.). Web.

Hooper, V. D. (2016). The Institute of Medicine report on the future of nursing: Where are we 5 years later? Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing, 31(5), 367-369. Web.

Kapp, M. B. (2016). Overcoming legal impediments to physician orders for life-sustaining treatment. AMA Journal of Ethics, 18(9), 861-868. Web.

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