When you are admitted to the hospital for inpatient care, you will be asked if you have an advanced directive. Advanced directives are written legal documents that define treatment preferences and identify who is designated to make decisions for an individual in the event that they are unable to make medical choices on their own behalf.
Basically, there are three types of advanced directives:
Living will – This document specifies what type of medical treatment a patient desires, such as whether or not they want to be on life-sustaining machines (e.g. ventilators), resuscitated, or administered medication(s).
Healthcare proxy – This document identifies who a person has designated to make their healthcare decisions for them (a proxy) in the event that they are unable to make their wishes known. Basically, the proxy has the same rights to request or refuse medical treatments as the patient would have if they were able to communicate.
Power of Attorney (POA) – This document identifies who is authorized to perform functions that include financial transactions, address legal or business matters, and apply for benefits if a medical condition leaves an individual unable to make or communicate their decisions. POAs may be general in scope or limited to specific functions as predetermined by the individual requesting the POA.
If you do not have an advanced directive, our Patient Advocate can give you additional information and even help you complete your own advanced directive packet. Please feel free to call our Patient Advocate at 498-1380.