Advance directives is your right to make decisions about your medical treatment and how you can plan for your medical care if you are unable to speak for yourself in the future. A federal law requires us to give you this information.
We hope this information will increase your control over your medical care. You can download, or request, our advance directive brochure to answer your questions, including:
- Who decides about my treatment?
- How do I know what I want?
- Can other people help with my decisions?
- What if I become too sick to make my own decisions?
- Can I choose a relative or friend to make health care decisions for me?
- Do I have to wait until I am sick to express my wishes about health care?
- Who can make an advance directive?
- Who can I name as my agent?
- When does my agent begin making my medical decisions?
- When does my agent know what I would want?
- What if I don't want to name an agent?
- What if I change my mind?
- What happens when someone else makes decisions about my treatment?
- Will I still be treated if I don't make an advance directive?
You can get more information about making an advanced directive by asking your doctor, nurse, social worker, or healthcare provider to get more information for you. You can have a lawyer write an advance directive for you, or you can complete an advance directive by filling in the blanks on a form.
Documenting Your Choices in Advance
Patients are usually able to make informed, deliberate choices about their own treatment. These choices can be expressed in advance, before you are unable to express your wishes due to progression of an illness or other unanticipated problems.
There are three advance directive documents available in California to convey those choices.
Advance Health Care Directive
This document states your desires and appoints an individual to make decisions concerning health care in situations where you are no longer able to make them for yourself. This document is legally binding, both on the person appointed as Attorney in Fact and upon your physician.
Natural Death Act Declaration
This document allows you to provide general guidelines regarding the extent of your health care. It can be used in the event you become incapable of making decisions. This document, part of the California Natural Death Act, directs physicians not to continue treatment. It is legally binding on your physician.
This document allows you to provide general guidelines regarding the extent of your health care; it will be used if you become incapable of making decisions. This document is regarded as an expression of your choices; however, it is not a legally binding document in the state of California. Contact your chaplain, case manager, discharge planner, or social worker to find out where you may acquire this form.
Ethical Questions and Concerns
Conflicts that may arise in regard to decision-making about health care and treatment may be referred to the Bioethics or Ethics Committee. Please notify your physician, nurse, case manager, or patient relations representative to initiate the process.