Patients have the right to make their own choices regarding their health care, including the right to accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment. One way patients can make their health care wishes known is through Advance Care Planning. The law requires hospitals to ask each patient upon admission whether or not they have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, also known as a Living Will or an Advance Directive.
Advance Care Planning is a way to understand, talk about and communicate your health care choices with your loved ones and health care providers in the event you cannot speak for yourself.
In a Living Will, an individual names a trusted “advocate” to make or carry out their health care decisions in the event they are unable to make decisions themselves. The patient is also encouraged to include instructions about his or her specific values and choices regarding life-prolonging medical care. By signing (several signatures, including witnesses, are required); the advocate accepts the designation of Patient Advocate and agrees to honor the patient’s wishes.