Advance Medical Directives are legal documents that allow you to give directions for your future health care. These documents help protect your rights and communicate your choices if you become physically or mentally unable to do so. There are several types of advance directives:

Directive to Physicians and Family

records your wishes regarding end-of-life care and the specific life sustaining treatments you want or do not want when diagnosed with either a terminal or irreversible condition.

Medical Power of Attorney

allows you to name someone you trust as an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf should you become incapable of making decisions, not only at the end of life but at any time.

Out-of-Hospital Do Not Resuscitate Order

allows you to refuse certain resuscitation treatments outside the hospital, including in your home, care facilities, an ambulance, and the hospital emergency room and outpatient departments.

Declaration for Mental Health Treatment

enables you to communicate to health care providers your choices for mental health treatment in the event you become unable to speak for yourself.

Organ/Tissue Donation Card

permits organ donation. Please ask your nurse about this option.

The Department of Pastoral Care

is available to assist with explaining and completing all Advance Directives.

Advance Directives Guide

Instructions for completing this document

This is an important legal document known as an Advance Directive. It is designed to help you communicate your wishes about medical treatment at some time in the future when you are unable to make your wishes known because of illness or injury. These wishes are usually based on personal values. In particular, you may want to consider what burdens or hardships of treatment you would be willing to accept for a particular amount of benefit obtained if you were seriously ill.

You are encouraged to discuss your values and wishes with your family or chosen spokesperson, as well as your physician. Your physician, other health care provider, or medical institution may provide you with various resources to assist you in completing your advance directive. Initial the treatment choices that best reflect your personal preferences. Provide a copy of your directive to your physician, usual hospital, and family or spokesperson. Consider a periodic review of this document. By periodic review, you can best assure that the directive reflects your preferences. In addition to this advance directive, Texas law provides for two other types of directives that can be important during a serious illness. These are the Medical Power of Attorney and the Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate Order. You may wish to discuss these with your physician, family, hospital representative, or other advisers. You may also wish to complete a directive related to the donation of organs and tissues.

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