Advance Care Planning

Advance care planning answers the following three questions:

  1. If something were to happen to you, like a big stroke or a heart attack, or maybe a terrible car accident, and you could not make your own health care decisions, who should make those decisions for you?
  2. If it were discovered that you were terminally ill and no matter what was done, you would die, would that person know what your wishes would be?
  3. What if you were in a permanent vegetative state (irreversible condition) and could be kept alive like that for years, is that what you would want?

Hunt Regional Healthcare seeks to support and honor your right to choose your own personal medical treatment decisions at a time when you may be unable to make them for yourself. That is what advance care planning is all about: honoring your choices.

If you already have a Medical Power of Attorney (PDF) or Directive to Physician (PDF) (commonly referred to as a “living will”) please be sure to bring it to the hospital with you while you are admitted so it can be placed in your medical record.

If you do not have these forms, you will receive a copy of the forms and information about how to complete them in your admission folder when you register.

You may also obtain copies of the forms by clicking the links above. More information is available from our chaplain at 903.408.5720.

The forms do not need to be notarized. However, you should sign them in front of two qualified adult witnesses. Those witnesses must not be someone who will inherit from your estate, your personal physician or their staff, the hospital business office employees or directors, and at least one of the witnesses should not be someone who is directly providing care to you when you are in the hospital. Our chaplain can help you complete the forms and execute them. Just ask your nurse to contact pastoral care or make a consultation request.

You have the right to cancel or withdraw the documents at any time after they are executed. But you must communicate that decision, and it must be documented.

A Medical Power of Attorney allows you to pick someone you trust to speak for you and make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so. If you also have completed a Directive to Physician, your agent under the Medical Power of Attorney should use those wishes as a guide when making decisions on your behalf.

The Medical Power of Attorney is different from a General Power of Attorney. The Medical Power of Attorney only pertains to medical treatment. You should consult an attorney for matters relating to your financial estate.

A Directive to Physician allows you to tell your medical provider and your Medical Power of Attorney agent what treatment you want if you are terminally ill or injured or have an irreversible condition.

An Out of Hospital DNR is a document that must be signed by you or your agent, your physician and two witnesses, and it is in effect when you are not an inpatient in the hospital. It usually is executed by someone who is terminally ill, with a limited life expectancy, who does not wish to be resuscitated if their heart stops.