No one likes to think about facing a long-term illness, health crisis or needing to make end-of-life choices. But planning ahead can provide you with peace of mind, knowing that you always have a voice in your care, and will help your loved ones ensure your wishes for your care are met.
Simply put, an Advance Directive is a written document made while you are competent that states your choices of health care — such as alternate forms of treatment or setting limits on treatment — and/or the name of someone to make those choices in the event that you lose the ability to express your choices.
Through an Advance Directive, such as a Living Will or durable power of attorney for health care, you can make legally binding decisions about future care should you become incapacitated or cannot speak for yourself.
To ensure your health care delivery preferences are followed, it is important to plan in advance, to talk to people close to you about your wishes and to consider executing an Advance Directive.
We do not require patients to have Advance Directives in order for them to receive home health or hospice care.
If you pursue an Advance Directive, it is important to:
By state and federal law, we must inform patients of the option of creating an Advance Directive and distribute Advance Directive material to each patient before care is provided. If a patient is incapacitated when care begins, we must ensure information is provided once he/she is no longer incapacitated.
We can help you and your family access the information and resources that you need to set up an Advance Directive, as well as provide referrals to services that can help you create other long-term planning documents, such as wills.
The state of Washington operates a 24-hour hotline for you to use if you have any concerns or wish to register a complaint concerning the implementation of the Advance Directive requirements. This toll-free number is 800-633-6828.
Questions often arise when an individual is considering these types of decisions. If you decide to become a donor, your decision should be recorded with the proper agency or expressed to the Organ Donation Association at 800-422-3310. In Washington State, organ donor designation can be indicated on your driver's license.