When doctors and family members must make choices for a loved one’s care because that person cannot express his or her desires, it can be a difficult situation. The family and doctors may disagree about what is best for the patient, or about what the patient would want. That’s why St. Mary Medical Center is here to provide guidance should you require an Advance Directive.
An Advance Directive will tell your doctors and family, in writing, about any treatments that you specifically do not want. Decisions may include your medical treatment, life or death situations, or more routine treatment choices
An Advance Directive also names the one person who has the power to make decisions on your behalf, eliminating any confusion about who should speak for you. And if you do not have someone to name, you will have the ability to dictate, in writing, whether you want doctors to employ life-prolonging treatment if you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious.
What if I change my mind about treatment options?
You can change the information in your Advance Directive. You just have to let your family member or designated person acting on your behalf, and your physician know as soon as possible that you would like to change your Advance Directive.
Your Advance Directive is destroyed once you are discharged from the hospital, and you must provide a new Advance Directive each time you are readmitted. In this way, you ensure that the hospital has your most current information.
For more information about Advance Directives or to obtain forms, please speak with your nurse.