An Advance Directive is sometimes called a Power of Attorney for Health Care, a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (or DPOA) or a Designation of Patient Advocate form. It is a legal document used to plan your health care in advance. It allows you to name a Patient Advocate who makes medical decisions about your care, custody and treatment, in the event you are unable to do this for yourself.
You have the right to appoint a Patient Advocate by completing an Advance Directive form (available also in español). A Patient Advocate should be someone who knows your wishes and is willing and able to make those decisions for you if needed.
When you complete an Advance Directive, copies of the document should be provided to your Patient Advocate and primary care physician (family doctor). In addition, a copy should be entered into your medical record at Allegiance Health. Each time you are hospitalized, a copy of your Advance Directive will be attached to your patient chart and will be used when planning your treatment. If you make changes to your Advance Directive, complete a new form and give the updated form to your Patient Advocate and primary care physician.
If you do not have an Advance Directive
You are not required to have an Advance Directive; you can make your wishes known by talking with your family or doctor or by writing them down. Without an Advance Directive, however, your Patient Advocate does not have legal authority to act for you.
You are not required to provide written instructions about your treatment. You can simply name a Patient Advocate. However, your advocate can only have life-sustaining care stopped if you write this down in an Advance Directive. Allegiance Health will honor your Advance Directive within the limits of Michigan law and the hospital’s mission, philosophy and capability. The existence, or lack of, an Advance Directive does not determine a patient’s right to access care, treatment or services.
More About Advance Directives
We are happy to provide you with an Advance Directive form (available also in español) and answers to frequently asked questions about Advance Directives.
To learn more about advance directives and their legal requirements, and to access helpful resources for creating these important documents, you can also visit the National Health Care Decisions Day website.