Advance Directives - Communicating Your Wishes

As a patient, you have the right to make your own informed decisions about medical care and to communicate these decisions to healthcare providers. If, however, through sickness or injury you become unable to make informed decisions about your medical care, including whether to accept or refuse treatment, how will your healthcare providers and family know your wishes?

An advance directive (may be called a “health care directive”) is a legal document that allows you to state your choices for medical treatment before you actually need such care. When you need medical care, certain decisions need to be made involving the kind of care to be given.

These decisions may become harder if you become unable to tell your doctor and loved ones what kind of medical care you want. Taking the time to fill out an advance directive also gives you the opportunity to tell healthcare providers what your wishes are regarding your treatment and allows you to name a person to make treatment decisions for you in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself.

A signed advance directive will only be followed in the event that you become mentally or physically unable to convey your wishes regarding medical care decisions.

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