Advance Directives (Living Will)

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You have the right to make important legal decisions in advance about your health care. “Advance Directives” are documents written in advance of the time when you are unable to make health care decisions for yourself. By law, the lack of advance directives does not hamper your access to care.

Advance Directives

Effective September 1, 1999, under the Texas “Advance Directive Act”, you have a right to formulate the following Advance Directives:
  • Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate Order: a written form directing healthcare professionals in out-of-hospital settings not to initiate or continue certain medical interventions.Declaration for Mental Health Treatment: a written directive specifying preferences or instructions regarding mental health treatment.
  • Organ and Tissue Donation: a written statement, signed by the donor or legally authorized representative, authorizing the donation of organs and/or tissues after death.
  • Medical Power of Attorney: a written directive designating a person or persons to make healthcare decisions if the patient becomes unable to make his/her own decisions. (Prior to September 1, 1999, this document was known as a “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care”.)
  • Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates: a written directive specifying choices for life-sustaining treatment in the event of a terminal or irreversible condition, including wishes regarding life support. (Prior to September 1, 1999, this document was known as a “Directive to Physicians/Living Will” and only addressed terminal condition and did NOT provide the option to request being kept alive using available life-sustaining treatment.) SETON offers assistance to patients who choose to revoke the Directive to Physicians/Living Will and execute the Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates. However, a patient may wish to consult with an attorney or other resources for specific advice before doing so.
  • Please note: Advance Directives signed before September 1, 1999, remain valid. Patients are NOT required to sign the updated versions.

Forms

Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to convey your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They provide a way for you to communicate your wishes to family, friends and health care professionals, and to avoid confusion later on.

  • Consent to Medical Treatment — This form is for a person who has not issued a directive and needs medical care. Does not include withholding or withdrawing life sustaining treatment.  PDF in English | PDF in Spanish
  • Declaration for Mental Health Treatment —This document allows you to make decisions in advance about mental health treatment and specifically three types of mental health treatment: psychoactive medication, convulsive therapy, and emergency mental health treatment. The instructions that you include in this declaration will be followed only if a court believes that you are incapacitated to make treatment decisions. Otherwise, you will be considered able to give or withhold consent for the treatments.PDF in English | PDF in Spanish
  • Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates Form — This form 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. PDF in English | PDF in Spanish
  • Medical Power of Attorney Form — Except to the extent you state otherwise, this document gives the person you name as your agent the authority to make any and all health care decisions for you in accordance with your wishes, including your religious and moral beliefs, when you are no longer capable of making them yourself. PDF in English | PDF in Spanish
  • Out-of-Hospital Do Not Resuscitate Information & Form — This form instructs emergency medical personnel and other health care professionals to forgo resuscitation attempts and to permit the patient to have a natural death with peace and dignity. This order does NOT affect the provision of other emergency care including comfort care. PDF in English
  • Procedure When Person Has Not Executed or Issued a Directive and Is Incompetent or Incapable of Communication — This form is used if an adult qualified patient has not executed or issued a directive and is incompetent, or otherwise mentally or physically incapable of communication. In that case, the attending physician and the resident's legal guardian or an agent under a medical power of attorney may make a treatment decision that may include a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment from the resident. PDF in English | PDF in Spanish

Advance Directive information is available from the admitting staff, nurses, chaplains, social workers, case managers and patient representatives, or at the Information Desk of your Seton healthcare facility.

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