Older Adult Services
Advance Directives Communicate Your Wishes
April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day
National Healthcare Decisions Day was created to inspire, educate, encourage and empower advance care planning. All adults can benefit from thinking about what their health care choices would be if they are unable to speak for themselves. By documenting preferences in an advance directive, others will know your choices and can pursue your wishes. There are two parts to an advance directive:
- A living will contains specific instructions about your wishes regarding withholding or withdrawing life-prolonging procedures in the event you have a terminal condition, an end-stage condition or are in a persistent vegetative state.
- A Designation of Health Care Surrogate is a document you sign, appointing a person you trust to make health care decisions for you if you are temporarily or permanently unable to make health care decisions for yourself. It is important that you talk with your surrogate and let him or her know your wishes about your medical care and treatment, so that he or she will make decisions based on your desires.
Your advance directive is your voice and should serve as your instructions if you cannot speak for yourself. Discuss your wishes with your surrogate and family, and review your advance directive with them. It is important that your advance directive is kept in an accessible place, and your surrogate, family and physician should have a copy of it. You are encouraged to bring a copy with you each time you see your physician or receive care whether in the hospital or an outpatient facility.
All patients admitted to Lee Memorial Health System receive advance directive forms in the Patient Information Guide. To request additional forms, please call 239-343-2000 and request Medical Social Work, Department of Care Management, Guest Services or Spiritual Services.