Advance Directives

It is the policy of Conway Regional Medical Center to respect patients' rights to refuse unwanted treatment and to comply with any valid advance directive.

What is an Advance Directive?

An advance directive is a form that tells your doctor and your family members what kind of care you would like to have if you become unable to make medical decisions. It's called an advance directive because you choose your medical care before you become seriously ill. When you are admitted to a hospital, the staff will tell you about advance directives. The laws about advance directives are different in each state. Ask your doctor what the laws for advance directives are in Arkansas. An advance directive lets you say you don't want a certain treatment, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). An advance directive can also say that you do want certain treatments. Like medicine for pain, or intravenous fluids and tube feedings.

What is a Health Care Proxy?

An advance directive also lets you name someone like your spouse or another close family member, to make decisions for you if you lose your ability to communicate. This is called a Health Care Proxy or a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and it lets you name someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unconscious or unable to make medical decisions for any reason.

Who Needs an Advance Directive?

Most advance directives are written by older people or by people who are seriously ill. For example, a patient in the last stages of a critical disease might write an advance directive that says she does not want to be put on an artificial respirator if she stops breathing. By letting her doctor know ahead of time that she does not want a respirator, she may be able to reduce her suffering at the end of life and increase her control over her death. It may give her peace of mind to know that her doctor knows her wishes and that she will not be put on a respirator if she stops breathing.

Can an Advance Directive be Made for Another Person?

If the patient is under age 18, a legal guardian can make an advance directive. If the patient is an adult who can no longer make medical decisions, a legal guardian can make an advance directive for the patient. Next of kin are consulted about decisions when no advance directive exists.

How Do You Make an Advance Directive?

To make an advance directive please contact your nurse. You will fill out the form provided. If you have decided to name a Healthcare Proxy, fill out the Proxy directive. Two witnesses (over age 21 and not your proxy) must sign the directive.

What if You Change Your Mind?

Your advance directive can be revoked at any time by telling your doctor and family members that your wishes have changed. All copies of the directive to be revoked should be destroyed.

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