Defining Advance Directives
Advance Directives is the term used to give directions to an advocate regarding your health care if you ever lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. Types of Advance Directives are: The Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. Although some states have statutes giving living wills legal force, Michigan has not passed such a law. For more information about Advance Directives, visit the Your Health Your Choice website.
What is a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?
The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is a document in which you appoint another person (an advocate) to make health care and medical treatment decisions if you become unable to do so. You can draw up a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care with or without the advice of a lawyer. The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is voluntary and optional. It is not required as a condition for hospitalization or home care. The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is only followed once your physician has determined that you are no longer capable of making your own decision(s).
What is the difference between a Durable Power of Attorney and a Living Will?
A Living Will and the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care are both forms of Advance Directives. With a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, you appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf. With a Living Will, you specifically state what type(s) of treatment you want or don’t want if you become unable to express your wishes. A Living Will alone is not a legally binding document in the state of Michigan. For more information about Advance Directives, please contact our Advance Care Planning team at 810-262-2770.
It’s your right to make health care decisions
You have always had the right to make decisions about your own health care, including the right to accept or reject medical or surgical treatment. However, there may come a time when you are too ill to make these decisions. That’s why it’s important for your family to consider and respect your choices regarding health care decisions. Making these decisions ahead of time with your loved ones and your physician may prevent an unnecessary and difficult dilemma regarding your medical care.
Honoring your Advance Directive
Hurley Medical Center will ask patients if they have completed an Advance Directive. If you do not have an Advance Directive and are interested in completing one, upon request, Hurley will provide resources to help you complete an Advance Directive. There are some situations in which the Advance Directive may not be valid and honored. Examples of these include:
- If the Advance Directive has been witnessed by a Hurley employee or the patient’s health care provider.
- If the witness is the patient’s husband, wife, parent, child, grandchild, brother or sister.
- If the witness is the presumptive heir of the patient and/or the known beneficiary of his/her will at the time of witnessing.
- If the chosen advocate is less than 18 years of age.
- If the patient is pregnant, the designation cannot be used to make a medical decision to withhold or withdraw treatment that would result in the pregnant patient’s death.
- If the Advance Directive is lacking the two witnesses required.
The above list does not necessarily contain all the reasons why an Advance Directive can be invalid. However, this document is given to inform each patient that all legal requirements must be met.
All patients have the right to review and revise their Advance Directive. If you have any questions, please contact our Advance Care Planning team at 810-262-2770.