Advance Directives are documents that allow you to state your choices regarding medical treatment, or to name someone to make decisions about your medical treatment on your behalf should you become unable to do so. In Texas, there are four kinds of advance directives:
- A Directive to Physicians and Family Surrogates (Living Will) allows you to decline or request aggressive medical treatment when you have a terminal or irreversible illness.
- A Medical Power of Attorney form allows you to appoint an individual to make medical decisions for you if you are incapable of doing so.
- An Out-of-Hospital Do Not Resuscitate Order allows you to decline cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) outside of the hospital.
- A Mental Health Directive describes the type of mental health treatment you would or would not want to receive if you become incapable of communicating your wishes.
Decisions about medical treatment at the end of life often occur in the hospital. The skillful application of medical technology can contribute to remarkable cures. At times, however, significant improvement is not possible and all efforts seem only to prolong the inevitability of death. At times such as these, difficult decisions must be considered by you the patient, by your family, and by your physician.
Although no one expects to have to cope with a terminal or irreversible diagnosis, everyone may one day have to face making difficult treatment decisions as a patient, or as a loved one. It is hard to make sound decisions in the midst of an unexpected crisis. It is better to discuss your thoughts and health care wishes with your family or surrogate decision maker, health care providers, and clergy before you become ill. This is also the best time to make your wishes known through an Advance Directive.
Our hospital offers patients, families, and surrogate decision-makers an opportunity to meet with our ethics committee to discuss difficult questions regarding end-of-life care and other complex medical issues. If you would like more information about the ethics committee, our Chaplains are here to serve you.
to download a printable version to Directive to Physicians and Family Surrogates
to download a printable version of Medical Power of Attorney
to download a printable version of Out of Hospital Do Not Resuscitate