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Creating an Advance Directive

No one wants to think about the possibility of something bad happening to them or their loved ones. However, it's important to be prepared by having advance directives, which are documents such as a living will, medical and/or mental health power of attorney and prehospital do not resuscitate directive.

"Advance directives help ensure that your family understands your wishes — and follows them — if the unthinkable does occur," explains Nicole Zahri, who works with patients' families every day as part of the Social Services department at John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital.

The state of Arizona recently made it easier to create advance directives and make health care providers aware of them by establishing the Arizona Advance Directive Registry.

The registry enables people to download forms from its website and then file the completed forms with the registry so that they are accessible to health care providers in Arizona in case of an emergency.

The process to create advance directives is simple. Just follow these easy steps:

1. Complete the forms:

Please note: These forms are available in Adobe PDF format. You must have free Adobe Reader software installed on your computer to view and print these forms.

For further reference, see the Arizona Secretary of State's Guide to Filing Advance Directives (PDF).

2. Share your decisions with loved ones. Once you complete the documents, talk with your family, close friends and physicians about the documents and the decisions you have made. You may also want to provide them with copies of the documents.

3. Send copies of the documents to the Arizona Advance Directive Registry. There is no fee to register your forms, and the registry provides a safe, confidential place to store them. If they're ever needed, health care providers in Arizona will be able to access them to determine your wishes.

If you have a question about creating an advance directive, contact the Attorney General's office or call 602-542-5025.