Advance Healthcare Directive
An Advance Healthcare Directive is the plan you make for your future health care. It may include instructions about the choices you prefer for your care, or you may appoint another person or persons who would make your health care decisions if you become unable to make them yourself. It may be a formal, legal document or you may choose to communicate your choices more informally in a letter or by simply talking to friends and family members.
In Enumclaw, various members of the community have formed a task force to make Advanced Care Planning available through local health care facilities and churches in the area. This program, known as "Honor My Wishes," has developed a Healthcare Directive and Power of Attorney document that is both personal and legal, and expresses your wishes regarding medical care at the end stage of life.
What is a Healthcare Directive? This is a document which directs your physician when to stop life-sustaining medical treatment and allow you to die naturally. It is effective only if you are terminally ill and will die soon, and the result of medical procedures would only prolong the process of dying, or if you are in a permanent unconscious condition. There are many facilitators of the "Honor My Wishes" program available in the community who will help you customize this document to reflect your personal wishes. For more information, go online to HonorMyWishes.org.
Why should I have an Advance Directive? Advancements in medicine have enabled us to prolong life and protect ourselves from illness. It is entirely possible that your life may be extended beyond what you would consider "living" into a stage of just "existence." By default, medical facilities are dedicated to treating patients and keeping them alive. Without any knowledge as to your end of life preferences, medical care and costs continue, and your family suffers the unpleasant task of making decisions without knowing if they're doing the right thing.
Who decides what happens to me in a medical emergency? You do. As long as you are capable of making your own decisions, you remain in control of your medical care. Your decisions will always be the first ones sought in any medical situation. In the absence of your ability to make choices, unless a Healthcare Power of Attorney is present or an Advance Directive exists, medical personnel will assume that you want life-sustaining measures administered.
Is it enough to just have an Advance Directive? No, but you've taken an important step. It is also advised that you designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf, such as a Power of Attorney for Healthcare. And you should discuss your end-of-life wishes with your friends, family, and your Power of Attorney for Healthcare. Help them understand what living and dying means to you. It is equally important to make sure that your doctor and local hospital have copies of this directive in your medical record.
Okay, I'd like to get one of these Advance Directives. What do I do? Thanks to the Advance Care Planning program here in Enumclaw, you may check out their website, for a list of facilitators in this area, or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org. During your stay at St. Elizabeth Hospital, you may communicate with your nurse or other care provider to get started on this process.
Whether you're coming in for an X-Ray, treadmill or daily injection, you will need to check in at the Admitting/Registration Desk. We need to know you're here, and if applicable, update your patient information to keep it current.
The admissions/registration process is the first part of your hospital visit, and an important step in ensuring a pleasant stay. We are located through the set of double doors next to the emergency room entrance on Battersby Avenue.
Between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., you may enter the hospital via the sliding glass doors at the Emergency Department or Registration entrance. Please ring the bell if the door is locked. You may use the ambulance ramp to drop someone off, but please don’t park there.
Each patient should bring his/her insurance card and a photo ID (i.e., driver’s license) for photocopying, emergency contact information, and your current employer's address and phone number. If your regular physician is located out of the area, then bring his/her contact information as well. In addition, you may be asked by the department to which you're being admitted to bring in X-ray films or other medical records. If you have a Living Will or Advance Directive, bring a copy so that it is made part of your medical record.
If you have an appointed time for a test or procedure, please arrive 15 minutes early or as instructed by the Scheduling staff in order to avoid delays.
If staying overnight, please leave valuable items (jewelry, cash, credit cards, etc.) at home.
If you have been sent to the hospital from your physician's office, you must register before being seen in the Emergency Department. If your physician has sent you to the hospital to be admitted to any other department, keep in mind that we need orders from him or her before that admission can be completed. If you or a loved one is arriving by ambulance, your admission can be handled by the clerk, or a family member can provide us with the information we need.
Planning ahead for your hospital visit will make the experience as comfortable as possible.
The hospital needs to know your medical history. Bring a list of all medications and herbal supplements you take and also write down previous surgeries, resulting complications, problems related to an anesthesia, medications, or allergies.
If staying overnight, bring any personal items you might need. If you are going home following a procedure, you will need someone to drive you.
Surgeries are arranged by your physician and their staff. Usually insurance authorization is obtained at this time as well. You will either have to come to the hospital before your procedure to get an EKG, chest X-ray and lab test, or you may have them done at your doctor's office. You may have to bring these with you when you check in for your surgery, or they may be sent over from the doctor's office.
You should receive a call before your surgery. A nurse will have some questions for you, and you may also ask any questions you have at this time.
If you are having a knee replacement, a physical therapist will want to see you prior to admission to discuss rehabilitation equipment used after surgery.
Before surgery, do not eat or drink anything (even water) for the time specified by your surgeon or pre-op nurse. If you are concerned about skipping any medications, discuss this with your surgeon or pre-op nurse as well. If you have additional questions, call 360-825-2505 and ask to talk with a surgical nurse or anesthetist.
When you come to the hospital for surgery, leave your valuables at home. During your surgery, family members can wait for you in the waiting room downstairs next to the surgery suite and the surgeon will talk with them afterwards.
Each of our patient’s rooms has a telephone and TV.
There is no charge for local calls. However, the hospital does not provide free long-distance phone service. All long-distance calls from our patients’ rooms must be collect or charged to the caller’s home phone number or credit card.
Cellular phones may be used inside the hospital so long as their use does not disrupt patient care or the care environment.