Advanced Medical Directives
Your Right to Make Medical Decisions
Below is an explanation of your rights to participate in healthcare decisions, and how you can plan what should be done when you can’t speak for yourself. Although a federal law requires us to give this information to an adult over 18 years of age, the choice to have a medical directive is left up to you. For assistance in completing the form, please call extension 4396 or 4496 on your hospital phone. For additional information on advance directives, click here.
Making An Advance Directive
What happens if people become too sick to make their own medical decisions? Someone must decide when to start treatment, when not to start it, or when to stop it. Family members and doctors usually make decisions when the patient can’t. Sometimes they are not sure what is best. Sometimes they disagree. At these times, it is helpful to know what the patient wants and who the patient designates to make these decisions. That’s why it would be a good idea to talk with your family, close friends, and physicians about filling out an advance directive. Having one empowers you – if you’ve made your wishes clear, they’re more likely to be followed.
A “living” will is not the same as a last will and testament. It has nothing to do with what happens to your personal property or your estate after death. The purpose of a “living” will is to let us know in advance how long you want life support treatment to be provided for you if you ever have to be put on life support machines. This document will tell your doctor and family how long you want treatment provided and when you want it stopped.
CPR Directive (“No Cor” or “No Code” or “DNR”)
A CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) directive tells your doctor what to do if your heart stops beating or you stop breathing. If you do not want CPR, a physician’s order must be written in your chart each time you are admitted. “Do Not Resuscitate” orders may be suspended when patients go to surgery, and for a period of time following the surgery, as defined by the surgeon and anesthesiologists after discussions with the patient and family. If you do want CPR, it will be automatically given to you, if necessary, while you are a patient.
Durable Power of Attorney
A medical durable power of attorney is not a power of attorney for business or personal financial matters. It is only about your healthcare. In this kind of document, you can state what types of medical treatment you want to have or don’t want to have. For example, do you want surgery, dialysis, blood transfusion, or cancer treatment? You can also name someone to make decisions for you ONLY when you can no longer make them yourself.