It’s important for you to understand patient’s rights at MetroWest Medical Center and learn how advanced directive documents, like the ones outlined below, can become an important part of your ongoing care.
Types of Advance Directives
Advance directive documents can help families, as well as doctors, determine the next stage of treatment when a patient is incapable of making a decision. Documents include:
A Living Will
Living wills are legal documents describing the kind of medical treatments or life-sustaining treatments you choose in the event of being seriously or terminally ill. It does not give someone else the power to make decisions for you.
A Durable Power of Attorney
A power of attorney for health care grants a person you trust the power to make health care decisions on your behalf in the event you are medically incapacitated and are unable to make those decisions on your own.
A Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR)
Our hospice staff will always help patients in cardio or respiratory distress, unless given instructions not to do so. A DNR is a request not to conduct cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event your heart stops or you stop breathing. DNR orders may be made for your doctor for inclusion in your medical chart and are accepted by doctors and hospitals in all states.
Should I Have an Advance Directive?
The creation of an advance directive helps ease the stress on your family and care team before you’re faced with a serious injury or illness. Using an advance directive, you can help guide the course of medical treatment throughout your care.
Most patients who have an advance directive are elderly, but it’s never too soon to take preventive measures in the event of an emergency.
Should you choose to name a health care proxy, the person you choose as your agent:
- Must be 18 years or older
- Cannot be your treating health care provider
- Cannot be an employee of your health care provider, unless related to you
- Cannot be your residential care provider, unless related to you
- Has the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf only when your attending doctor certifies you as incapable of deciding for yourself
- Must make health care decisions on your behalf if you do not have documented health care directives, even in the result of end of life
- Cannot make a decision for you if you object, regardless of capacity
- Cannot make a decision for you if a medical power of attorney is in effect
If you would like more information about advance directives, we encourage you to call us at (508) 383-7000.