Sometimes people become unable to make health care decisions for themselves due to accidents or serious illness. You have the right to say what you want to happen if you are in this situation. This means that, if you want to, you can:
- Fill out a written form to give someone the legal authority to make medical decisions for you if you ever become unable to make decisions for yourself.
- Give your doctors written instructions about how you want them to handle your medical care if you become unable to make decisions for yourself.
The legal documents that you can use to give your directions in advance in these situations are called "advance directives." There are three kinds of advance directives: a living will declaration, a health care power of attorney, and an organ donation card.
To learn more about these legal documents and how to use them, visit kp.org/planahead, where you can download an advance directives packet.
You may also call the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization HelpLine at 1-800-658-8898 for more information.
Three points to remember
- It's your choice whether you want to fill out an advance directive (including whether you want to sign one if you are in the hospital).
- According to law, no one can deny you care or discriminate against you based on whether or not you have signed an advance directive.
- If you signed an advance directive and believe that a doctor or hospital hasn't followed the instructions in it, you may file a complaint with the Ohio Department of Health, PCSU, 246 North High St., Columbus, Ohio, 43215.
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