Advance Directives

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Power of Attorney
Living Will

WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE ADVANCE DIRECTIVES?

·         To protect your right to make medical choices that affects your life.

·         To assist your family with difficult decision that often determines your quality of life.

·         To assist your physician with decisions regarding your total care.

WHO SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR ADVANCE DIRECTIVES?

·         Your family

·         Your physician

·         Your hospital

Give them a copy of your Advance Directive. It´s also a good idea to carry a copy with you or have a card in your billfold or purse indicating that you have a Living Will or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and where it is located.

WHEN DO ADVANCE DIRECTIVES TAKE EFFECT?

It takes effect only after you no longer can make personal decisions. As long as you can make personal decisions on your own behalf, your health care givers will rely on you, not on your Advance Directive.

MUST A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOLLOW AN ADVANCE DIRECTIVE?

The federal law requires hospitals, nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospice programs and health maintenance organizations (HMO´s) to have written policies concerning Advance Directives. The health care provider you choose must inform you in writing of its written policy regarding Advance Directives. Therefore, you should review and discuss the provider´s policy on following your Advance Directive with the provider and others.

DO YOU HAVE TO WRITE AN ADVANCE DIRECTIVE?

·         No.

It is entirely up to you whether you want to prepare an Advance Directive. Questions may arise about the kind of medical treatment that you do and do not want to receive. An Advance Directive may help to solve these important questions.

CAN YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND?

·         Yes.

The Living Will or Durable Power of Attorney may be reversed or changed at any time. If any changes are made, give an updated copy

DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE A WRITTEN DOCUMENT TO EXPRESS YOUR WISHES TO YOUR DOCTOR?

No.

If you are able to communicate your wishes to your doctor, they will carry more weight than an Advance Directive. But if you state your wishes in a written document, your doctor will know what you want if you are not able to make decisions and communicate them on your own behalf, especially when you are unable to do so!

WHAT CHOICES SHOULD YOU INCLUDE IN YOUR ADVANCE DIRECTIVE?

·         The content of the Advance Directive is entirely your own choice.

·         It should be personal to you and should reflect your own personal choices.

IF YOU EXECUTE AN ADVANCE DIRECTIVE IN ANOTHER STATE; WILL IT BE FOLLOWED IN NEBRASKA?

If you have executed an Advance Directive in another state and it is valid under the laws of that state and of Nebraska, it is valid in Nebraska.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR ADVANCE DIRECTIVE IF YOU CHOOSE TO HAVE ONE?

Make sure that someone, such as a family member, knows that you have an Advance Directive and knows where it is located. You might also consider the following:

·         If you have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, give a copy or the original to your “agent” or “representative.”

·         Ask your doctor to make your Advance Directive part of your permanent medical record.

·         Keep a second copy of your Advance Directive in a safe place where it can be found easily, if it is needed.

·         Keep a small card in your purse or wallet, which states that you have an Advance Directive and where it is located and

who your “agent” is, if you have named one.

 NOTE: If you don´t have an Advance Directive you can ask our staff about the “5 Wishes” booklet. Please also see admission packet for full Advance Directives Information.