When Does an Advance Where Can I Get More
Directive Become Operative? Information About Advance
U When it is transmitted to your Directives?
doctor, hospital or other health care Lawyers, Doctors, Hospitals and Clinics all have
U When you lack the capacity to make
information about Advance Directives. You may
also contact your County Medical Society, your
a particular health care decision. County Bar Association, or your County Board of in New Jersey
Remember, an Advance Directive may
request that treatment be given, not just On the Internet, there are many sources
withheld or withdrawn. for information about Advance Directives,
WILLIAM P. ISELE, M.A., J.D.
some of which provide sample forms.
Copies of your advance directive should be The New Jersey Commission on Legal and New Jersey Ombudsman for
shared with your doctor, your proxy if you Ethical Problems in the Delivery of Health Care the Institutionalized Elderly
choose to name one, your family and prepared a booklet that is available on-line at
friends, anyone who might be called upon www.state.nj.us/health/ltc/advance_directives.pdf
if you are in need of medical care and Some other web resources include: May 2005
unable to make decisions.
Under New Jersey Law, treatment can be www.americangeriatrics.org/education/forum
withheld or withdrawn in accordance with www.bazelon.org
an Advance Directive. www.compassionindying.org/ad.php
U If the treatment is experimental or is www.medicalert.org
likely to be ineffective or futile; www.neri.org
U If you are permanently unconscious;
U If you are in a terminal condition; or Remember, though, YOUR Advance Directive
should reflect YOUR wishes, values and desires.
U If you have a serious irreversible
Provided as a public service by the New Jersey Office of the
condition and the burdens of
Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly, William P.
treatment outweigh the benefits. Isele, Ombudsman, and the New Jersey Department of Health
and Senior Services. RICHARD J. CODEY FRED M. JACOBS, M.D., J.D.
G9348 Acting Governor Commissioner
What Is an Who Should Prepare an Is Making an Advance Directive
Advance Directive? Advance Directive? Complicated?
You have the right to decide what medical Anyone who is over the age of 18 and Deciding what health care services you want
treatment you want, or do not want to receive. understands what he or she is doing can prepare may be complicated, but making an advance
What happens to that right if you become an advance directive. You may want to consider directive is not. All that is required is:
physically or mentally unable to communicate preparing an advance directive if:
your wishes and values? You can decide in U That it be in writing;
advance what treatment you would want, and U You want your doctor or other health care
put that decision in writing, or you may name provider to know the kind of medical care U That it be signed by you;
someone else, who understands and shares you want or don’t want, in the event that
your values, to exercise that right for you. This you become unable to speak for yourself; U That your signature be witnessed by two
is called an Advance Directive. adult witnesses (over 18) or by a Notary
U You want to relieve your family of the Public or other legal official (like a New
Under New Jersey Law, there are three kinds responsibility for making decisions about Jersey attorney or Judge).
of Advance Directives: your medical care.
There is no specific form of Advance Directive
U A Proxy Directive, which names Advance Directives are not only for the elderly or that must be followed in New Jersey, although
a person to make health care people with chronic illnesses. In fact, young, there are many model forms available. You
decisions when you no longer can healthy people may suffer injuries in accidents don’t need a lawyer to prepare an Advance
(this is sometimes called a “health that can make them temporarily or permanently Directive. It can be as simple as a letter stating
care proxy” or a “health care power unable to speak for themselves. your health care wishes, or naming the person
of attorney); you trust to make health care decisions for you.
Federal Law requires hospitals to ask all patients,
U An Instruction Directive, which upon admission, whether they have Advance It is very important, if you choose to name a
expresses your desires/instructions Directives. But now, when you are healthy, trusted friend as a proxy to make decisions for
for treatment (this is sometimes relaxed, and thinking clearly is really the best you when you no longer can, that you inform
called a “Living Will”); or time to think about Advance Directives. that person, and discuss your desires and values
with him or her. The whole idea of an Advance
U A Combined Directive, which names Directive is to assure that your wishes will be
a proxy and gives instructions for honored. No one can honor your wishes unless
treatment. they know what they are!