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.