What kind of medical care would you want if you were too ill or hurt to express your wishes?
A time may come when you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions. Advanced directives allow your loved ones, and the medical staff in charge of your care, know your wishes regarding the level and length of care you receive and whether life support should be continued or withdrawn.
What are Advance Directives?
Advance Directives, including a living will and healthcare power of attorney, are the legal documents that allow you to give direction to medical personnel, family and friends concerning your future care when you cannot speak for yourself. By sharing your treatment wishes in a written document, you spare your loved ones from having to make difficult decisions without knowing exactly what you wanted.
To make sure that your choices about life support are carried out, bring a copy of your Living Will and/or Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions with you when admitted to a hospital, nursing home, hospice or clinic. These instructions will be added to your medical record. If you don’t have these papers when you enter one of our healthcare centers, ask your family to bring a copy for your records, or someone from these facilities can assist you in completing one.
Organ and Tissue Donation
Organ and tissue donation can save lives.Today many organs and tissues can be transplanted including kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, bone, skin (for severe burn victims), bone marrow, corneas and blood vessels.
Anyone can make the decision to be a donor. Designating your intent to be a donor on your license or donor card is a valid and legal gift document. Share your decision with your family so they are aware and can help carry out your wishes. Donor cards are available through PinnacleHealth and by contacting the Gift of Life Donor Program at 1-800-366-6771.
When a healthcare choice involves an ethical concern—such as a family member’s wish to refuse life sustaining treatment, or a disagreement between family members or other caregivers concerning advance directives— decision-making can become overwhelming.
Our Bioethics Committee is available to hear such concerns. Requests for a consultation may be made by the patient, a family member, the physician, nurse, or other staff member. Patients and families can call the Pastoral Care Office directly or ask any staff person for assistance in directing a concern to the Ethics Committee.
To schedule a consultation with the Ethics Committee, please call (717) 782–5220.
The State of Pennsylvania recognizes two forms of Advance Directives:
1. A Living Will is a legal document or paper stating your wishes about treatment. This only takes effect when:
Your physician has a copy of it, and
Your physician has determined you are unable to make decisions about your medical care, and
Your physician and a second physician have determined that you are in a terminal condition or in a state of permanent unconsciousness.
2. A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions is a legal paper on which you name someone to make medical decisions for you if you cannot speak for yourself.
PinnacleHealth Hospitals and its operating entities support the law and have several of its own policies in effect concerning a patient’s medical care. These include:
Patient’s Rights and Responsibilities
Refusing Medical Treatment
Level of Intensity