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Advance Directives

Plan ahead…

Advance Directives are your chance to make healthcare decisions for yourself ahead of time.

Health Care Facilities in the United States are required to ask each patient if he or she has an “Advanced Directive.” This information is provided to you in order to answer some basic questions about advance directives. If you have more questions or would like more information about advance directives, you may ask a member of our nursing staff.

What is an Advance Directive?

According to the Patient Self-determination Act of 1990, patients have the right to make decisions about their own healthcare. If you are a competent adult, consent for any medical treatment will be obtained from you. However, if you are not able to make your own healthcare decisions, an advance directive allows you to state your decisions ahead of time, and/or to designate another person to make healthcare decisions for you.

There are two types of Advance Directives:

Individual Instruction

An “Individual Instruction” is a directive concerning a health care decision. An individual Instruction can be written or oral, and no specific format is required. These instructions may be limited to take effect only if specified condition arises. Your Individual Instruction must be honored by your agent, family, surrogate, or health care provider.

Note: End-of-Life decisions, Artificial Nutrition and Hydration, and Relief from Pain instructions must meet an acceptable format specified by law.

Power of Attorney for Health Care

You may designate an individual or agent to make health-care decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions due to permanent or temporary illness or injury. By filing a Power of Attorney for Health Care you can appoint an agent (representative) to make health care decisions for you and you can also outline what decisions they may or may not make. A copy of the forms for Power of Attorney for Health Care, which must meet a specific format specified by law, is available from the Meridian Surgery Center Administration.

Why Do I Need an Advance Directive?

Advance Directives are intended to inform healthcare professionals regarding how to care for you when you are unable to make those decisions yourself. They are a way to express desires either in writing or through someone you designate to represent you. In the case that you do not have an advance directive, though, a family member or close acquaintance may make these decisions for you. Members of your family might disagree among themselves or with the physician in such instances, an advance directive can help clarify your desires. If neither a family member nor close acquaintance is available, a court may have to make the decision for you.

How Do I File an Advance Directive?

You should provide a copy of your advance directive to anyone that you designate to make healthcare decisions for you and also to your healthcare provider. Advance directives are not required to be filed with a state agency, but copies should be given to clergy, family, friends, or other parties not named in the documents. Bring a copy to give your physician and the facility each time you are hospitalized.

To be binding, these documents must meet Mississippi law. Many out-of-state documents will not meet these requirements. The safest route is to execute all new documents following the Mississippi statute.

What If I Change My Mind?

You can change or revoke your advance directive at any time and in any manner that communicates intent to do so. You may voice your desire to your primary physician or other healthcare provider or you can write your desires to change your advance directive. If the changes are written they will be inserted into your medical records.

Click here for forms and information about Living Wills/Advance Directives

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