Patient ResourcesPatients Have the RIGHT to be Involved in Their Health Care Decisions
Hospice is about taking control of your health care. You have the right to choose how you will live your life following a life-limiting diagnosis. For many, choosing to live days comfortable and pain free allow them to spend quality time with family and friends. You not only have the right to choose who provides your health care, but you have the right to make certain choices and decisions in advance. These choices and decisions are known as advance directives.
What are advance directives?
An advance directive describes the kind of treatment you would want should you not be able to speak for yourself. For example, if you become unconscious, are in a coma or an unresponsive condition, these directives communicate your wishes to health care providers. Often, advance directives can spare family and loved ones from making difficult decisions by making those choices in advance. You may change your mind at any time, and these changes can be made known to your health care providers verbally. Make sure that your wishes are made known to everyone involved in your care.
What is a health care power of attorney?
A durable power of attorney (DPA) authorized a person to make health care decisions for you. Should you become unable to make your own medical decisions, this person will make them. A durable power of attorney is a legally binding document that you will sign to designate this person to make your choices.
What is a living will?
A living will is a legal document that describes the kind of medical, life-sustaining treatments you want if you become terminally ill. This document does not allow someone to make decisions on your behalf.
What is a do not resuscitate order (DNR)?
A do not resuscitate (DNR) order is a request not to have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if your heart stops or if you stop breathing. Doctors and hospitals in every state honor these orders.
How do I write advance directives?
Written advance directives can be very simple statements that express your wishes. Here are some helpful tips for creating advance directives:
- You can write them
- Use a form from your local health department
- Ask you doctor for a form you can use
- A lawyer can help you write advance directives
- Review advance directives with your family and health care providers to make sure your wishes are understood