Decisions About Your Care
We support your right to decide whether to accept or deny medical treatment, including termination of treatment that would prolong your life artificially. Federal law also allows for your rights and wishes to be respected. You can make your exact wishes known in the form of advance directives.
Advance directives allow individuals to indicate to their family members and physicians their choices regarding life prolonging medical treatments and other pertinent issues. Examples of advance directives include drafting a Living Will, executing a Durable Power of Attorney and naming a Healthcare Surrogate. These options allow you to make legally valid decisions about your future medical treatment even when you are no longer able to communicate your wishes.
A Living Will is a document that states your wishes regarding whether you want life-prolonging treatments or procedures administered to you if you are in a terminal condition, a persistent vegetative state or an end-stage condition. It is called a "Living Will" because it takes effect while you are still living.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney is a document by which you give authority to another person to make decisions about your financial or health-related issues. You can change or revoke this document at any time before you become incapacitated to make decisions.
A Healthcare Surrogate is a person you select to speak for you and make healthcare decisions for you when you lack the ability to do so. Your surrogate is expected to make the decisions you would make if you were able to do so; therefore, your surrogate must have a thorough understanding of your wishes.
Before deciding which choice is best for you, discuss the issues involved with your family and physician.
During the admission process, you will be asked whether you have executed an advance directive. If you have executed one, please provide a copy to the hospital. Your admission and care will not be affected if you have not completed an advance directive.
You are under no obligation to execute an advance directive. However, if you are interested in creating one, notify your nurse or call 904-308-8554 and ask for a social worker.
At some point, you and your family may need to make a difficult decision regarding your care. Our Ethics Committee, which participates in the ethical policy making process at St. Vincent's HealthCare, is available as a resource for information and advice. The Ethics Committee guides, educates and assists members of the hospital, family, patients and caregivers as they confront difficult, and in many cases, painful decisions. You and/or your family can consult with the Ethics Committee whenever you feel the need for clarification of ethical issues. Requests for committee interaction can be made through your physician or healthcare providers. If you have any concerns, please contact the Care Management Department at 904-308-8554.