St. Elizabeth Hospital
Located in Enumclaw, we provide advanced medicine and trusted care for the surrounding community.
Advance Healthcare Directive: St Elizabeth Hospital
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 provider 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.
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