Definitions


Advance Directive – This is a written document that says what types of medical treatment you desire and who the doctor should talk to when you are unable to speak for yourself. This document is also considered to be a combination of a Living Will and the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare.

Agent – This is who the doctor should talk to when you are unable to speak for yourself. Other terms would include: Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Proxy or Surrogate Decision Maker.

“AND” – AND or Allow Natural Death is another way to say DNR. AND is a request to not have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if your heart stops or if you stop breathing.

Autonomy
– Autonomy means that a person, with decisional capacity, is allowed to make their own decisions about what will happen to their body.

Beneficence – Healthcare professionals are supposed to do things which will benefit the patient. This concept of balancing the benefits and the burdens or risks should be considered when deciding what should be done.

Best Interest Standard – This standard applies when the patient doesn’t have any loved ones to speak for them or the patient can not speak for themselves and express their wishes. We make decisions the best we can for this unknown patient.

Capacity – This is when the patient has the mental ability to make their own decisions.

Compentent or Competency
– This is a legal term to describe when a person has the ability to make their own decisions.

Conservator – This is a court appointed person who is assigned to make decisions for an incapacitated person. This term is similar to guardian in most states. They may be in charge of medical decisions, financial decisions or both.

“CPR” – Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation which is attempted if your heart stops or if you stop breathing.

Decisional Capacity – This is when the patient has the mental ability to make their own decisions.

“DNAR” – DNAR is another way of saying DNR. DNAR means DO Not Attempt Resuscitation and is a request to not have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if your heart stops or if you stop breathing.

“DNR” – DNR stands for Do Not Resuscitate. A DNR is a request to not have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if your heart stops or if you stop breathing.

Durable Power of Attorney for Finances – This is a written document that says who should be in charge of your money when you are unable to make your own decisions. This document does not include medical decision making power.

Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare – This is a written document that says who to when you are unable to speak for yourself.

Fidelity – Acting in someone else’s best interest. Physicians and surrogate decision makers are supposed to do the right thing for the patient even if it isn’t in their own best interest.

Fluctuating Capacity – This is when the patient sometimes has the mental ability to make their own decisions and sometimes no.

Guardian – This is a court appointed person who is assigned to make decisions for an incapacitated person. This term is similar to conservator in most states. They may be in charge of medical decisions, financial decisions or both.

Living Will – This is a written document that says what types of medical treatment are desired. A living will can be very specific or very general. This document could also be called an Advance Directive.

Non-maleficence - The Latin term “primum non nocere” means “do no harm.” What this means is that the physician is supposed to avoid doing things which will cause any unnecessary harm. The concept of balancing the benefits and the burdens should be considered when deciding what should be done.

Power of Attorney for Healthcare – This is who the doctor should talk to when you are unable to speak for yourself. Other terms would include: Agent, Proxy or Surrogate Decision Maker.

Proxy – This is who the doctor should talk to when you are unable to speak for yourself. Other terms would include: Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Agent or Surrogate Decision Maker.

Substituted Judgment – This is when someone else such as a family member or a loved one, makes the medical decisions for a patient who is unable to make their own decisions using the values and wishes of the patient.

Surrogate Decision Maker – This is who the doctor should talk to when you are unable to speak for yourself. Other terms would include: Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Proxy or Agent.

Unbefriended – This term is used to describe someone who doesn’t have any friends or loved ones in their lives that the doctor can talk to when the patient is unable to speak for themselves.

Unrepresented – This term is used to describe someone who doesn’t have any friends or loved ones in their lives that the doctor can talk to when the patient is unable to speak for themselves.

Veracity – Truthfulness, telling the truth.