Patient Rights

Advance Directives

Your Rights As A Patient

All Adults in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and health care settings have certain rights. You have the right to confidentiality of your personal and medical records and to know what treatment you will receive. You also have another right. You have the right to prepare a document called an “advance directive”. One type of advance directive, you state in advance what kind of treatment you want or do not want if you ever become mentally or physically unable to choose or communicate your wishes. In a second type, you authorize another person to make those decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Federal law requires hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospices, home health agencies, and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) serving persons covered by either Medicare or Medicaid to give you information about advance directives and explain your legal choices in making decisions about medical care. The law is intended to increase your control over medical treatment decisions. The health care provider is required to give to you information about the laws with respect to advance directives for the state in which the provider is located.

What is an Advance Directive?

It is a written document you prepare stating how you want medical decisions made if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. The two most commonly prepared advance directives are: a “Living Will” and a “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care”. The value of an advance directive is that it allows you to state your choices for health care or to name someone to make those choices for you, if you become unable to make decisions about your medical treatment. In short, an advance directive ensures your right to accept or refuse medical care. You can say “yes” to a treatment you want, or “no” to a treatment you do not want.