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Advance Directives

Advance Directives

If you are 18 or older and able to make decisions about the care you want, you may want to plan ahead by having advance directives in place. Advance directives are like a set of directions you can fill out to say who will make medical decisions for you and how you feel about different kinds of treatment. No one can force you to make advance directives. It is your choice. But, if you are ever too sick or injured to make decisions about your medical care, having advance directives in place can help make your wishes clear. North Carolina Law has three ways for you to make an advance directive: Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Advance Instructions for Mental Health Treatment.

You may already have signed advance directives documents. We will accept those if they meet the requirements of NC law or of the law of another state in which they were signed if you are a patient of the hospital.

  • Resources/Forms
  • Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Living Will
  • Advance Instructions for Mental Health Treatment
  • Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation
  • Contact Us/More Information


The NC Practical form is a fill-in the blank Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will combined form. Once you have filled it out, have a notary and two witnesses assist you with completing the last page. After the form is completed, you control and maintain it. You are encouraged to share copies with the people you have named as your health care agents and with any physician or medical facility.  

Health Care Power of Attorney

This document lets you name a person to make medical decisions for you when you cannot. This person will be your Health Care Agent. You can choose a relative or someone else. The choice is up to you. You can also include information about the treatments you do and do not want, North Carolina law sets out who will be your legal decision maker in a certain order and choosing your own Health Care Agent through a Health Care Power of Attorney gives you a chance to make that choice. Here is a list of decision makers in order under North Carolina Law [NCGS 90-21.13 (c)]:

  • Legal Guardian of the patient (appointed by the court but if there is a Health Care Agent, that Agent would make health care decisions unless the Health Care Agent’s power is taken away by the court).
  •  Health Care Agent appointed by a valid Health Care Power of Attorney
  •  An attorney-in-fact appointed by the patient in a Power of Attorney that includes a health care section.
  •  Patient’s spouse
  •  Majority of patient’s reasonably available parents and adult children 18 years of age or older
  • Majority of patient’s reasonably available siblings 18 years of age or older
  •  A person who has an established relationship with the patient and who is acting in good faith on behalf of the patient and who can reliably communicate the patient’s wishes.

Living Will

In North Carolina, a Living Will is a document that tells others your wishes for medical care/life-prolonging measures if you are dying from:

  • An incurable or irreversible condition that will result in death within a short time; or
  • Is unconscious and to a high degree of medical certainty will never regain consciousness; or
  • Suffers from advanced dementia or any other condition resulting in substantial loss of cognitive ability and that loss, to a high degree of medical certainty, is not reversible.

In a Living Will, the patient can give directions not to start or to stop some treatments that would prolong your life without helping you get better. You can also direct your doctor not to start or to stop giving you food or water through a tube.

Advance Instruction for Mental Health Treatment

On North Carolina, an Advance Instruction for Mental Health Treatment is a document that tells caregivers what mental health treatments you would want or not want if you are unable to decide for yourself. You can also choose a person to make mental health decision for you if you cannot.


Your care provider may speak with you about a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) or a Medical Scope of Treatment (MOST) order. These are medical orders that address end of life treatment options. Your doctor can provide more information to you about these orders and how they can help you.

Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation Organ, eye, and tissue donation is a chance for you to improve or save a person’s life after you die. Over 200 people in western North Carolina are waiting on national lists for an organ transplant. Very few people are able to be organ donors. Most people can be eye and tissue donors after death. This important choice begins with learning more. Think about your values, Share your decisions with your family and friends. The organizations listed below can help answer your questions.

  • Life share of the Carolinas, toll-free 1-800-932-4483
  • Donate Life North Carolina (You may register as a donor at this website.)
Contact Us/More Information

You can get more detailed information about advance directives by contacting the Office of Patient Experience at the number listed for the facility nearest you. You may print copies of advance directive forms by clicking on the Resources/Forms menu option to the right

  • Angel Medical Center - Franklin, NC -828-524-8411
  • Blue Ridge Regional Hospital - Spruce Pine, NC - 828-765-4201
  • CarePartners - Asheville, NC - 828-277-4800
  • Highlands-Cashiers Hospital - Highlands, NC - 828-659-5000
  • McDowell Hospital - Marion, NC - 828-659-5000
  • Mission Hospital - Asheville, NC - 828-213-1111
  • Transylvania Regional Hospital - Brevard, NC - 828-884-9111