When admitted, patients should provide the hospital with a copy, if any, of legal documents regarding health care directives, such as a Living Will or Medical Power of Attorney. While these documents remain in effect until changed by the patient, a copy has to be presented to the hospital upon each admission.
A Medical Power of Attorney enables the patient to delegate to a family member or trusted friend the power to become the agent for any health care decision the patient is unable to make during periods of physical or mental incapacity. Medical Power of Attorney can be used by anyone who wants life-prolonging treatments continued, as well as those who do not.
A Living Will is a document directing the attending physician to withdraw certain medical treatments that would serve only to postpone death. This directive is activated only if the physician deems the patient to suffer from a terminal condition and the patient is unable to provide further instructions.
These forms are available in the back of the Patient CarePak you received upon admission. Patients should contact their own attorneys with further legal questions.