Advanced Directives Information

Advanced Directives

This information will help you understand a federal law called the Patient Self-Determination Act. All hospitals and other health care institutions must inform patients of their right to agree to or refuse medical treatment. In addition, patients must be asked if they have an advance directive. If you are 18 or older and mentally competent, you have the right to make decisions about your medical treatment. If you want to control decisions about your health care, even if you become unable to make or to express them yourself, you will need an advance directive.

An advance directive is a form you sign now to direct your future health care if you cannot speak for yourself in the future. “Advance” means you tell your wishes ahead of time before you are too sick to talk. “Directives” means you direct your future health care. In this form, you state your wishes about what happens to you when you are dying or in a coma and unable to speak. You decide if you want artificial treatments, which may keep you alive for a very long time.

Do Not Resuscitate
“DNR” stands for Do Not Resuscitate. This order tells medical staff not to perform CPR. Your doctor will speak with you about CPR, (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). It is used in case you stop breathing or your heart stops. It is helpful to decide about CPR before you are sick enough to need it.

In order to get a DNR order you must talk with your physician about your condition and your wishes. A doctor will not write a DNR order without talking to you and/or your family. It is important to note that you will still receive all the care and medications you need even if you have a DNR order written by your doctor.

Ethics Concerns
There may be a time when you are called upon to make a decision about your health care during your hospital stay. This can be a confusing, frightening or painful task. Yet, every patient has the right to make those decisions and to have all the information needed to make them. Summit Healthcare has an Ethics Committee to help you in such circumstances.

The Ethics Committee is a group of people who are prepared to listen and respond to you. They can help get all the facts you need to make a decision and they can offer feedback and suggestions. They will never come up with a final answer or tell you what to do. The Ethics Committee exists to help everyone involved make the best decision possible.

The committee can help with hard ethical choices or disagreements about a patient’s care. Concerns can be brought to the committee by a patient, by a family member, by a physician, nurse or other health care provider. All conversations are held in strictest confidence. Ask your nurse or doctor to contact the committee for you. There is no charge for this service. It is a resource we offer to assist you in making decisions in difficult situations.

Living Will
A living will is a document that tells others that you want to die a natural death if you are terminally and incurably sick or in a persistent vegetative state from which you will not recover.

In a living will, you can tell your doctor not to use heroic treatment that would delay your death. You can also direct your doctor not to begin or to stop giving you food and water through a tube.