Advance Directives Brochure

Document Sample
Advance Directives Brochure Powered By Docstoc
					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
    provider; and
  U When you lack the capacity to make
                                             information about Advance Directives. You may
                                             also contact your County Medical Society, your
                                                                                                            Advance Directives
    a particular health care decision.       County Bar Association, or your County Board of                in New Jersey
                                             Social Services.
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withheld or withdrawn.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
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
withheld or withdrawn in accordance with
an Advance Directive.              
  U If the treatment is experimental or is
    likely to be ineffective or futile;
  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!