May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops states that the purpose of the directives is to reaffirm the ethical standards of behavior in healthcare that flow from the Church’s teaching about the dignity of the human person. The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs) describe the importance of following a patient’s wishes, including those in an Advance Directive.
WHAT IS AN ADVANCE DIRECTIVE?
Advance Directives are legal documents that allow you to state your healthcare wishes in writing. They only become effective if you are unable or not competent to state those wishes for yourself.
WHAT IS A MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY?
A Medical Power of Attorney allows you to name another person to make your medical decisions if you are unable to make your wishes known.
WHAT IS A DIRECTIVE TO PHYSICIANS AND FAMILY OR SURROGATES?
The Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates allows you to state your healthcare wishes. It is often called a “Living Will”. It typically states your wishes about life-sustaining treatment. It only becomes effective if your physicians determine you are in a terminal or irreversible condition.
WHO SHOULD FILL OUT A DIRECTIVE TO PHYSICIANS OR MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY?
Advance Care Planning documents are important legal documents that should be completed by every competent adult over the age of 18.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THESE DOCUMENTS AFTER I FILL THEM OUT?
These are your documents and should be kept at home. Make sure they are easily accessible in an emergency. Keep extra copies to take to the hospital if necessary.
WHO SHOULD HAVE COPIES OF MY ADVANCE DIRECTIVE DOCUMENTS?
Be sure to give copies of all Advance Directives to:
- Your designated Medical Power of Attorney and designated alternates
- Family members
- Your primary care provider and other specialist care providers
- Always take copies with you to the hospital regardless of the reason for admittance so the documents can be scanned into your electronic medical record