Definition of medical directives
Medical directives are indirect physician orders, used to expedite patient care by competent health professionals.
- A medical directive applies to a specific patient population who meet specific criteria.
- A medical directive is role specific (e.g., NP, RD, RN) not person specific and users within the role must possess the necessary knowledge, skill and judgment before implementing a medical directive.
From The Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario, Guide to Using Medical Directives and Delegation:
- Given in advance to enable an implementer to act under specific conditions without a direct assessment by the physician.
- Implementers are not ordering a procedure when they implement a directive; rather they are implementing a physician’s order.
- Must have the integrity of a direct order, thus physicians potentially responsible must approve it.
- Is approved only when all affected regulated professionals and relevant administrators participate in their development.
- Is always written and has essential components.