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Advance directives

What is an advance directive?

What is an advance directive?

An advance directive lets doctors know what type of care you do and don’t want for yourself. This way, if you can’t speak for yourself due to an accident or illness, you’ll still get the medical attention and care that you need and want. Everyone should have an advance directive, no matter what your age or health condition is.  


Your provider may ask if you have an advance directive. You’ll get medical care even if you don’t have one. You do have the right to make your own medical decisions. You can refuse care. 


If you have an advance directive: 


  • Keep one copy of your advance directive for yourself 

  • Give a copy to the person you give medical power of attorney to 

  • Give a copy to each one of your providers 

  • Take a copy with you if you have to go to the hospital or the emergency room 

  • Keep a copy in your car if you have one 


Your provider can help answer your questions. We’ll help you find a provider who supports your wishes. You can file a complaint if a provider doesn’t follow your advance directive. 

Proxy directives

This type of advance directive gives power of attorney for health care. This is in the event you’re not able to make your own decisions. It may be temporary, in the case of an accident. Or it may be permanent, in the case of a health condition.


The first step is choosing your health care representative. This is someone you choose to make health care decisions for you. They: 


  • Are responsible for making the same decisions you would make in the same situation

  • Base their decision on what they think is in your best interest if they aren’t able to determine what you would want in the same situation

Instruction directives

Instruction directives

This type of advance directive is also known as a “living will.” It guides your doctor and family in the event you’re not able to make your own health care decisions. It covers situations when you would or wouldn’t want to get treatment that would keep you alive. 


You can include a statement about your:


  • Beliefs

  • Values

  • Wishes for general care  

  • Wishes for treatment 

Need more help?

Call us at 1-844-362-0934 (TTY: 711). We’re here 8 AM to 8 PM, 7 days a week. Or check the state of New Jersey website to learn more about advance directives.

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