Treatment FAQ's

The following information explains your rights to make healthcare decisions and how you can plan what should be done when you can’t speak for yourself. A federal law requires us to give you this information. We hope this information will help increase your control over your medical treatment.

Who decides about my treatment?

Your doctors will give you information and advice about treatment. You have the right to choose. You can say “Yes” to treatments you want. You can say “No” to any treatment you don’t want-even if the treatment might keep you alive longer.

How do I know what I want?

Your doctor must tell you about your medical condition and about what different treatments can do for you. Many treatments have “side effects.” Your doctor must offer you information about serious problems that medical treatment is likely to cause you.

Often, more than one treatment might help you-and people have different ideas about which is best. Your doctor can tell you which treatments are available to you, but your doctor can’t choose for you. That choice depends on what is important to you.

What if I’m too sick to decide?

If you can’t make treatment decisions, your doctor will ask your closest available relative or friend to help decide what is best for you. Most of the time, that works. But sometimes everyone doesn’t agree about what to do. That’s why it is helpful if you say in advance what you want to happen if you can’t speak for yourself. There are several kinds of “advanced directives” that you can use to say what you want and who you want to speak for you.

One kind of advanced directives under California law lets you name someone to make health care decisions when you can’t. This form is called a Durable Power of Attorney For Health Care.

Who can I name to make medical treatment decisions when I’m unable to do so?

You can choose an adult relative or friend you trust as your “agent” to speak for you when you’re too sick to make your own decisions.

How does this person know what I would want?

After you choose someone, talk to that person about what you want. You can also write down in the Durable Power of Attorney For Health Care when you would or wouldn’t want medical treatment. Talk to your doctor about what you want and give your doctor a copy of the form. Give another copy to the person named as your agent. And take a copy with you when you go into a hospital or other treatment facility.

Sometimes treatment decisions are hard to make and it truly helps your family and your doctors if they know what you want. The Durable Power of Attorney For Health Care also gives them legal protection when they follow your wishes.

What if I don’t have anybody to make decisions for me?

You can use another kind of advanced directive to write down your wishes about treatment. This is often called a “living will” because it takes effect while you are still alive but have become unable to speak for yourself. The California Natural Death Act lets you sign a living will called a Declaration. Anyone 18 years or older and of sound mind can sign one.

When you sign a Declaration it tells your doctors that you don’t want any treatment that would only prolong your life. All life-sustaining treatment would be stopped if you were terminally ill and your death was expected soon, or if you were permanently unconscious. You would still receive treatment to keep you comfortable.

The doctors must follow your wishes about limiting treatment or turn your care over to another doctor who will. Your doctors are also legally protected when they follow your wishes.

Are there other living wills I can use?

Instead of using the Declaration in the Natural Death Act, you can use any of the available living will forms. You can use a Durable Power of Attorney For Health Care form without naming an agent. Or you can just write down your wishes on a piece of paper. Your doctors and family can use what you write in deciding about your treatment. But living wills that don’t meet the requirements of the Natural Death Act don’t give as much legal protection for your doctors if a disagreement arises about following your wishes.

What if I change my mind?

You can change or revoke any of these documents at any time as long as you can communicate your wishes.

How can I get more information about Advanced Directives?

Ask your doctor, nurse, or social worker to get more information for you.

Complaints concerning the advanced directives requirements may be filed with the state Department of Health Services.

All of us at Glendora Community Hospital want our patients to understand their rights to make medical treatment decisions. Glendora Community Hospital complies with California laws and court decisions on advanced directives. We do not condition the provision of care or otherwise discriminate against anyone based on whether or not you have executed an advanced directive. We have formal policies to ensure that your wishes about treatment will be followed. We also have an ethics committee that can help if any questions arise about your treatment wishes.

It is your responsibility to provide a copy of your advanced directives to the hospital so that it can be kept with your records. If you have any questions about any of these forms, please talk to your doctor, your nurse, or the social worker.