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Important Questions about Advance Directives

You may have questions about your medical care.....

Who decides about my treatment when I am in the hospital?

You always have the right to choose what treatment you will have, and what treatment/interventions you do not want. Your decisions should be based on information and advice your physician and the health care team provide for you. You can say "Yes" or "No" to any treatment - even if that treatment might save your life or keep you alive longer.

Your physician is required to inform you about your medical condition - and to tell you about the options for treatment. The benefits, risks and side effects of suggested treatments are a part of the information you should receive. Often there are multiple options for treatment and the conversation between you and your physician is important. You have the right to decide.

If I am too ill to decide and can't make decisions for myself - who makes those decisions?

If you have identified a health care agent through a Medical Durable Power of Attorney, that person will make medical decisions on your behalf. If you have not identified a health care agent, the physician and hospital staff will work with your family and other "interested parties" to identify a proxy decision-maker who will make those decisions on your behalf.

What if I change my mind about any of my advance directives?

You can cancel or change your living will at any time. You can do this by destroying it, by signing a statement that you no longer want it, or you may prepare a new one. If you cancel or change your living will, you should tell your family, your doctor and anyone who has a copy of it that it has been canceled or changed.

Do I have to fill out one of these forms?

No, you don't have to fill out any of these forms if you don't want to. You can just talk with your doctors and ask them to write down what you've said in your medical chart. And you can talk with your family. But people will be clearer about your treatment wishes if you write them down and your wishes are more likely to be followed if you write them down.

Will I still be treated if I don't fill out these forms?

Absolutely. You will still receive medical treatment. The purpose of this information is to help you understand that if you become too ill to make decisions, someone else will have to make them for you and to give you the opportunity to clarify your desires about your treatment and the person who can make medical decisions on your behalf.

All of us at St. Anthony North Hospital want our patients to understand their rights to make medical treatment decisions. St. Anthony North Hospital complies with Colorado laws regarding advance directives. We do not discriminate against anyone based on whether or not he or she has completed an advance directive.


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