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Advanced Directives


At St. Mary's Medical Center our primary focus is the dignity of each patient. We seek to enhance quality of life primarily by preventing illness and restoring health, but we also recognize that alleviating suffering and caring for the dying are essential aspects of our mission.

Most times, you are usually able to make informed, deliberate choices about your treatment. These choices can be expressed in advance, before you are unable to express your wishes due to progression of an illness or other unanticipated problems. There are three advance directive documents available in California to convey those choices they are:

  • Advance Health Care Directive: This document states your desires and appoints an individual to make decisions concerning health care in situations where you are no longer able to make them for yourself. This document is legally binding, both on the person appointed as Attorney in Fact and upon your physician.
  • Natural Death Act Declaration: This document allows you to provide general guidelines regarding the extent of your health care. It can be used in the event you become incapable of making decisions. This document, part of the California Natural Death Act, directs physicians not to continue treatment. It is legally binding on your physician.
  • Living Will: This document allows you to provide general guidelines regarding the extent of your health care; it will be used if you become incapable of making decisions. This document is regarded as an expression of your choices; however, it is not a legally binding document in the state of California. Contact your chaplain, case manager, discharge planner or social worker to find out where you may acquire this form.

Ethical Questions And Concerns

Conflicts that may arise in regard to decision-making about health care and treatment may be referred to the Bioethics or Ethics Committee. Please notify your doctor, nurse, case manager, or patient relations representative to initiate the process.

Learn More

For more information, please call 877.507.1759.