Advance Directives are legal documents that allow you to convey your care decisions ahead of time if you are hurt or too ill to express yourself. Adirondack Health believes each individual should have Advance Directives, so that the surrogate you choose is aware of your specific desires.
Your doctor or nurse can help explain the two types of Advance Directives:
Health Care Proxy:
A Health Care Proxy is a person chosen by the patient who will make surrogate decisions for the patient in the future if the patient has lost the capacity to make his or her own health care decisions.
A Living Will:
A Living Will reflects the patient's beliefs and priorities and provides guidelines for the kind of medical care that a patient would like to have in the future.
Your nurses or doctors can help you obtain the appropriate forms to fill out and sign. We recommend that you have a thorough conversation with your doctor about the benefits and burdens of each medical treatment and that you have conversations with your designated Health Care Proxy whenever you change your mind about the options for your medical care.
The New York State Department of Health has a web site where you can get more information about Advance Directives: http://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/patients/health_care_proxy/