Should I update my Oregon Advance Directive?

Shot of a caring nurse reading through documents with her elderly patient at her home

The Advance Directive form has not been updated since 1993 and some people find parts of it confusing. Oregon’s House Bill 4135 recently passed establishing a temporary form. If you have a current Advance Directive there is no need to complete the new form. If you do not have an Advance Directive or if you want to make changes to the one you have you should use the new form after January 1, 2019.

An Advance Directive:

  • Is an important tool in ensuring your wishes about end of life choices are followed
  • Allows you to maintain control of health care decision making even when you can no longer express your wishes
  • Is recommended for
    • all adults (18 or older), regardless of their health status
    • emancipated minor
  • Appoints a health care representative to communicate your wishes regarding treatment and end of life decisions when you cannot communicate them yourself
  • IS NOT recognized by first responders/emergency medical personnel

The Oregon legislature passed House Bill 4135 regarding Oregon’s Advance Directive for Health Care on March 3rd, 2018. The bill, which still needs to be signed by the governor, becomes effective January 1, 2019. It creates an Advance Directive Adoption Committee made up of stakeholders to review the Advance Directive and make recommendations for changes or improvements to the form. The bill also establishes a new, temporary, Advance Directive form and also a form for appointing a Health Care Representative and Alternate. Advance Directives completed prior to the January 1, 2019 effective date will still be valid and honored and are not revoked by the passage of this bill.

The bill does not change current law ORS 127.642 regarding providing the care of incapacitated individuals including those with dementia. That is, comfort care, including efforts to orally offer food and water, must be provided. Care facilities and/or a health care representative under an Advance Directive cannot remove these comfort measures.

Contact an experienced Elder Law attorney at the Law Offices of Nay & Friedenberg LLC in Portland, Oregon at (503) 245-0894 to set an appointment. We can assist you with understanding the new law and in completing an Advance Directive form.