What’s the Difference Between a DNR and a POA?

by | Sep 24, 2013 | Aging Parents, Disability, End of Life, Nursing Home, Power of Attorney

End of life documents can be quite confusing and intimidating (the use of acronyms doesn’t help). So we’d like to set the record straight and help clear things up. Let’s start with the types of documents commonly used:


These letters stand for Do Not Resuscitate. A DNR order is given/written by a physician stating the patient’s wishes not to be resuscitated if that need arises. This is usually prepared a short time in advance, generally during a hospital stay or a long illness.


This simply stands for Power of Attorney. When healthcare is involved, it can also be referred to as a Healthcare POA. There are different types of POAs, however, a Healthcare POA (or Healthcare Proxy) is an important legal document that provides authorization for someone to represent or act on your behalf in medical situations where you are unable to do so for yourself.

Advanced Directives/Living Wills

These are end of life documents that work hand in hand with a POA to carry out the wishes and preferences regarding healthcare and end of life procedures (use of ventilators, feeding tubes, etc.). These documents can be a helpful guide to the appointed healthcare agent who has been named in the POA.

Creating POAs is something we do on a regular basis. To read more about Powers of Attorney, click HERE.