A Resource Guide for Patients & Visitors

Arizona Advance Directives Registry 

  • What is an advance or healthcare directive? 
  • Who can legally make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable communicate? 
  • How can you make an advance or healthcare directive? 
  • Where can your healthcare provider, family and spouse find your advance or healthcare directive? 

No one likes the idea that one day we may be unable to make our own medical decisions. Take away the burden placed on family members to make decisions about your healthcare by understanding Arizona state law on advance and healthcare directives.

What is an advance or healthcare directive? 

An advance or healthcare directive is a written statement about how you want your healthcare decisions made. Under Arizona law, there are three common types of healthcare directives. Used separately or together, these directives can help you say “yes” or “no” to treatment. 

A healthcare power of attorney is a written statement in which you name an adult to make healthcare decisions for you only when you cannot make or communicate such decisions for yourself. 

A living will is a written statement about healthcare that you do or do not want. This document is to be followed if you cannot make your own healthcare decisions. For example, a living will can say whether you want to be fed through a tube if you were unconscious and unlikely to recover. 

A pre-hospital medical care directive is a directive refusing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if you have a heart attack or can’t breathe while outside a hospital or emergency room. To make one, you must complete a special orange form. 

Who can legally make your healthcare decisions if you are unable to communicate? 

A court may appoint a guardian to make healthcare decisions for you. Otherwise, your healthcare provider must go down the following list to find a surrogate to make healthcare decisions for you. 

    1. Your husband or wife, unless you are legally separated. 
    2. Your adult child. If you have more than one child, a majority of those who are available. 
    3. Your mother or father. 
    4. Your domestic partner, unless someone also has financial responsibility for you. 
    5. Your brother or sister. 
    6. A close friend of yours. Some one who shows special concern for you and is familiar with your healthcare views. 

If your healthcare provider can’t find an available and willing surrogate to make healthcare decisions for you, your doctor can decide with the advice of an ethics committee or, if this is not possible, with the approval of another doctor. 

Make an advance or healthcare directive that names someone to make these decisions for you. This person should know your preferences on medical treatment. 

For more detailed information 

The information above is a brief summary on advance directives. Click here for Scottsdale Healthcare’s brochure “Decisions About Your Healthcare: A Summary of Arizona State Law on Advance Directives”. 

How can you create an advance or healthcare directive? 

Patient ServicesRecently, the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office launched the Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry to help you to make your healthcare wishes clear if you are unable to communicate. Hospitals and doctors throughout the state may access the registry if they have your password. 

Applicants complete an advance directive and a registry application, then mail or hand deliver the documents to the Secretary of State’s Office. Verification of applicant information will occur before it goes into the registry. When you create an advance directive, make sure you talk to and give copies to your doctor, healthcare provider, family and friends.