Eisenhower Army Medical Center
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THE ADVANCE MEDICAL DIRECTIVE FOR PATIENTS

Source: DDEAMC Pam 40-4

WHAT IS AN ADVANCE MEDICAL DIRECTIVE?

An Advance Medical Directive is a written statement of your wishes regarding your healthcare, which goes into effect if at sometime you are unable to make healthcare decisions. There are two (2) types of directives: a Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare.

WHAT IS A LIVING WILL?

A Living Will is a document which states your desires concerning the medical treatment you do, or do not receive if you become unable to make your own medical decisions.

WHAT IS A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTHCARE?

A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare is a document in which you give another adult person the legal authority to make medical treatment decisions for you if you become unable to do so. You can designate anyone, a spouse, relative, or good friend as your decision-maker.

WHY SHOULD I PUT MY WISHES IN WRITING?

If, as a result of serious injury or illness, you become unable to make medical treatment decisions, you retain legal ability to control your medical treatment by having an Advance Medical Directive. Putting your wishes in writing helps your doctor, family, and friends know what medical treatment you do, or do not want in case you cannot tell them yourself.

SHOULD I HAVE BOTH TYPES OF ADVANCE MEDICAL DIRECTIVES?

YES! In most cases it is a good idea to combine a Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare into a single document. Doing so helps your healthcare team, family, and friends to carry out your wishes.

WHO SHOULD I TELL ABOUT MY ADVANCE MEDICAL DIRECTIVE?

Before you prepare an Advance Medical Directive, you should discuss your medical treatment wishes with your physicians, close family members, and the person you choose as your surrogate. Because patients see different physicians, a copy should be placed in your outpatient medical record. You should also bring a copy of your Advance Medical Directive with you anytime you are admitted to the hospital. A copy should be placed in your inpatient medical record. A copy of your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare should also be given to the person you named as your surrogate decision-maker.

15 Feb 2003

AM I REQUIRED TO HAVE AN ADVANCE MEDICAL DIRECTIVE?

No, you are not required by law or Army Regulation or hospital policy to have an Advance Medical Directive in order to receive care. However, an Advance Medical Directive is the most effective way to ensure desires concerning medical treatment are honored if you become unable to communicate your choices to those providing your medical care.

WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN AN ADVANCE MEDICAL DIRECTIVE?

You should declare your desires concerning the initiation or withdrawal of life-sustaining medical treatment. Typical instructions include those concerning:

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): Treatment to restore breathing and heartbeat. It may include pushing on the chest, electric shock to the chest, and the insertion of a breathing tube in your throat.
  • Dialysis: Treatment to clean the blood with a machine when the kidneys do not function.
  • Being placed on a ventilator or breathing machine.
  • Giving food, water, and medication through tubes.
  • Pain Management.
  • Donating your organs.

WHAT IF MY DOCTOR AND I DO NOT AGREE ABOUT MY TREATMENT?

Your doctor will treat you according to professionally accepted medical standards. If you and your doctor do not agree about your medical treatment, you have the right to request to be treated by another doctor. You may also seek advice from the DDEAMC Ethics Committee by contacting the Chaplain or the Patient Advocacy Office.

CAN I CHANGE MY ADVANCE MEDICAL DIRECTIVE?

Your Advance Medical Directive can be changed, or revoked by you at any time, either verbally or in writing. If you do so, it is crucial that you tell your physician and family members, along with anyone you have designated as your decision-maker.

HOW CAN I HAVE AN ADVANCE MEDICAL DIRECTIVE PREPARED?

It is highly recommended that you discuss Advance Medical Directives with your family and physician before you prepare one. If needed, assistance is available at the Legal Assistance Office, 11th floor. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday (except on Federal Holidays).

WHAT DO I NEED TO REMEMBER?

It is important to remember that you are a member of your own healthcare team. Your wishes about your care are important to your doctor and the other healthcare professionals. They can serve you best if you continue to talk with them and with your family throughout your treatment, both in and out of the hospital.

IMPORTANT TELEPHONE NUMBERS

Hospital Information 706-787-5811
Patient Advocacy Office 706-787-4656
Legal Assistance Office 706-787-4097
Chaplain’s Office 706-787-6667

AOD/AAOD
(after Normal Duty Hours)

706-787-5811

The proponent agency of this pamphlet is the Patient Advocacy Office. Users are invited to send suggestions and comments on DA Form 2028 (Recommended Changes to Publication and Blank Forms) to Commander, DDEAMC, ATTN: Patient Advocacy Office, Fort Gordon, GA 30905-5650