As a patient, you have the right to make decisions about your healthcare, and to have your doctor and medical team know and honor your decisions. An advance care document can protect this right if you become mentally or physically unable to choose or communicate your wishes.
There are several benefits to having an advance directive:
- It protects your right to make medical choices that can affect your life
- It may minimize the stress and responsibility on family members having to make medical decisions for you
- It gives guidelines to the physician(s) involved in your care
The Patient Self-Determination Act and the Healthcare Decision Law require hospitals to ask all admitted patients whether they have completed an advance directive. This document communicates your wishes regarding treatment in the event you are unable to speak for yourself. You may change any portion of the Power of Attorney for Healthcare by telling your physician about your new decisions or wishes.
There are two types of documents you can use: Advance Directive or Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, also called POLST.
This document lets your physician, family and friends know your health care preferences, including the types of special treatment you want or don’t want at the end of life, your desire for diagnostic testing, surgical procedures, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and organ donation.
By considering your options early, you can ensure the quality of life that is important to you. This document will make your wishes clear to your family, so they don’t have to make critical medical decisions for you under pressure or emotional distress.
Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
This is a document signed by both the patient and his/her health care provider that helps all health care providers understand and honor a patient’s wishes regarding resuscitative and life-sustaining treatment. The form takes the individual’s wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment and converts those wishes into a medical order that applies across all care settings.
Natividad will honor advance care planning documents to the best of our ability.
For more information on an Advance Directive or POLST, call the hospital operator at (831) 755-4111. The operator can connect you with a Natividad social worker.