Family members play an important role in the process of writing advance directives. Homosexual men infected with HIV often wish to authorize their intimate same-sex partner or friends rather than immediate family members to make medical decisions on their behalf. Although same-sex marriage is currently illegal in Taiwan, HIV infected homosexual patients are able to write advance directives appointing their same-sex partner to be their surrogate decision maker for end-of-life medical decisions. This case report describes an experience assisting a homosexual patient with HIV to write his advance directives. The nurse assisted the patient and his partner to make a self-determined decision not to resuscitate. Family conferences held to discuss the patient's decisions regarding resuscitation helped legitimize his partner's primary role in making end-of-life healthcare decisions on his behalf. As an advocate for patient rights, nurses should understand the law as it relates to homosexuality and end-of-life decision making, inform patients on the durable power of autonomy, and help execute their advance directives.
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