Does your family know your wishes?
Have you shared your preferences regarding medical treatment in the event you become incapacitated or unable to express your wishes? Advance medical directives can protect your rights if you ever become mentally or physically unable to choose or communicate your wishes regarding medical treatment. It is your right, as a competent adult, to accept or refuse medical care or treatment.
Why file an advance medical directive?
An advance medical directive protects your right to make medical choices when you cannot speak for yourself. It also assists your family by allowing them to know what your wishes are, and it provides guidelines for the physicians and healthcare providers who are taking care of you.
Advance medical directives enable you to communicate your feelings about:
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) - used to restore stopped breathing and/or heartbeat
- Respirators/ventilators - machines used to keep patients breathing
- Dialysis - a method of cleaning a patient's blood by machine when kidneys no longer work properly
- Intravenous therapy (IV) - used to provide water and/or medication through a tube placed in the vein
- Feeding tube - inserted through the nose and throat to provide nutrition when patients can no longer eat normally
What kinds of advance medical directives are recognized in Missouri?
Living will: These written instructions, explaining your wishes regarding healthcare and treatment take effect while you are alive but unable to speak for yourself. A living will requires your witnessed signature and is only effective if you have a terminal condition.
Durable power of attorney: This is a written document in which you name a person(s) as an agent or proxy to make decisions for you regarding healthcare treatment when you become unable to do so. In addition, you can state in your advance medical directive your wishes regarding donation of specific organs, bone, or tissue for transplantation in the event of your death. A durable power of attorney requires your witnessed and notarized signature.
English durable power of attorney form (page 2 of document)
Spanish durable power of attorney form (page 2 of document)
It is important to remember that advance medical directives do not take effect while you are able to communicate your wishes regarding healthcare treatment.
How do I create advance medical directives?
Print advance medical directives form:
If you are a patient in the hospital, please ask your physician or nurse for assistance
Put your wishes in writing and be as specific as possible. Forms are available on our website and from Admissions for your use.
Sign and date your advance medical directives and have them witnessed and notarized where appropriate.
Give your physician a copy to keep as part of your medical record.
Discuss your advance medical directives with family and friends and give copies to those who are likely to be notified in case of an emergency.
Review your advance medical directives regularly and make any changes when necessary.
Remember to inform your physician, family, and proxy or agent of any changes.You may revoke or revise either type of advance medical directive at any time, either orally or in writing. Freeman will honor your wishes as stated in a properly executed document.
Keep a card in your wallet stating that you have an advance medical directive and where to find it. Please print a wallet card or obtain one from Freeman Admissions.