Honoring Your Wishes with Dignity
Advance Care Planning
Know your options and document your decisions.
Hospice is here to help educate you and your family about advance directives and advance care planning. We can also help you take the right steps toward having difficult conversations with your loved ones and making your health care wishes known.
A Health Care Proxy will ensure your wishes are honored if and when you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Your decision to accept or reject medical treatment, including life-sustaining procedures, ultimately depends upon your personal wishes, values, and beliefs. Using an Advance Directive form, such as a Health Care Proxy, will help your family and friends understand your wishes and will give both you and them peace of mind.
Everyone over the age of 18 needs to appoint a Health Care Proxy* for these two situations:
1. Temporary inability to make health care decisions can happen no matter what your age. That’s because unexpected events can happen at any time. And, often during these events a health care decision needs to be made, even if you’re not able to voice those decisions for yourself. (For example, when having an outpatient surgical procedure and are under general anesthesia.) If you have a Health Care Proxy, decisions will be made according to your wishes — even if you are temporarily unable to make your own requests. Once you become conscious, your Health Care Proxy no longer has any authority to act.
2. Permanent inability to make healthcare decisions. This would arise if you were comatose from a terminal illness, in a persistent vegetative state, suffered from an illness that left you unable to communicate or, if elderly, suffered from senile dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
If you don't have a Health Care Proxy, all appropriate medical treatments would be provided to you. If you’ve appointed a Health Care Proxy, that person would represent your voice and act on your behalf in making healthcare decisions for you according to your pre-determined wishes or best interests.
*The New York Health Care Proxy Law encourages you to appoint someone you trust — such as a family member or close friend — to make health care decisions for you if you lose the ability to make decisions yourself. Appointing a health care agent and discussing your wishes with them helps ensure that health care providers follow your requests.