Advance Directives

Advance Directives

““I used to think hospice was about quitting and giving up, and now I realize it’s about hope.”

- A patient’s wife

The oldest and most experienced hospice in the region, serving tens of thousands of patients since 1980, Hospice of the Piedmont is the only community-based, not-for-profit hospice in the area.

Because we aren’t a for-profit organization, our bottom line is always about patients and their best interests—not a financial benchmark. We provide compassionate, expert pain control and symptom relief for terminally ill patients and high-quality, long-term grief support for loved ones. But, there’s more to the end-of-life process than just expertly delivered tender loving care: Final wishes—how a patient wants to live out the remaining days, weeks, or months—are important.

Healthcare professionals want to respect final wishes for medical care...but they can’t do that unless those wishes are known. Having a document that outlines these choices helps doctors and families take care of loved ones during a health crisis or terminal illness. An advance directive is a document that outlines final wishes about specific healthcare, treatments, and procedures, in the event a patient is unable to participate in informed decision-making. Advance directives come in various forms as described below:

A Living Will

This is the part of the advance directive where you or a loved one expresses wishes about prolonging life through medical intervention. The living will lists the specific treatment or procedures to be provided—or not—in the event of terminal illness and the inability to communicate.

Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare

You or your loved one chooses a trusted person to make healthcare decisions in case (s)he is too sick and can’t. Also known as a Healthcare Proxy or Medical Power of Attorney, the chosen person should know and respect the patient’s wishes regarding healthcare treatments and procedures in order to be the true voice in decision-making.

Durable DNR (Do Not Resuscitate)

A Durable “Do Not Resuscitate” order, or a DNR, is an order to withhold cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), in respect of the wishes of a patient in case the heart or breathing were to stop. DNR orders may be issued to a patient by that patient’s physician; the authorized DNR order can be honored by any qualified healthcare professional in any setting.

POST (Physician’s Order for Scope of Treatment)

A POST form is a physician-signed order form which communicates and puts into action treatment preferences for patients who are nearing the end of their lives. POST is based on the ethical principle of respect, patient autonomy, and the legal principle of patient self-determination. All competent adults have the right to make their own healthcare decisions. POST is designed to help healthcare professionals know and honor the treatment wishes of their patients. Click to learn more about the Virginia POST.

Hospice of the Piedmont offers information, education, and resource materials for decision-making and advance care planning. For more information, visit Aging with Dignity. Their Five Wishes document helps patients get the care they want, when they need it. For a copy, email us:


Need help with an advance directive?
We can answer your questions and give you the support you need.
Contact Hospice of the Piedmont now: 1-800-975-5501, 434-817-6900 or