There may come a time when you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself due to injury, illness, or disease. For that reason, it is important that you sign a document called “Health Care Instructions”. Everyone over the age of eighteen (18) should have Health Care Instructions.
To recognize the 11th Annual National Health Care Decisions Day, we invite you to review the website National Health Care Decisions Day and we want to remind you that:
- You have the right to make decisions about the medical care you receive.
- You have the right to tell your physician that you do not want certain medical treatments.
- You have the right to name the person (or people) who will make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so for yourself.
- You have the right to pre-direct specific instructions about any aspect of your health care.
- You have the right to have your wishes communicated in the event you no longer are able to express your own medical wishes.
Your rights can be preserved by signing Health Care Instructions. Health Care Instructions are legal instructions to your physicians and family members that express your wishes pertaining to your medical care. These instructions will govern if you are unable to actively participate in your medical decision making or communicate your medical wishes.
Health Care Instructions allow you to:
- Designate one or more individuals (“Health Care Representatives”) to make medical decisions on your behalf, in accordance with your wishes.
- Authorize your Health Care Representatives to discuss your medical history and current medical status with your physicians.
- Direct the withholding or withdrawing of mechanical life support systems if you are in a persistent vegetative state or the final stages of a terminal illness.
- Name a person to serve as your Conservator (someone to manage your personal or financial matters) if you should ever be deemed incapable by the Probate Court.
- Donate all or part of your body, following your death, for transplantation, therapy, education, or research if you wish to do so.
If you change your mind about any of the decisions you have made, you have the right to change or revoke your Health Care Instructions at any time while you are alive and mentally capable.