Your right to make decisions about your health care.
Your right to select someone to speak for you when you can't speak for yourself.
Do you know who will make decisions about your medical care if you are too sick to decide for yourself? If you can't make treatment decisions and you haven't legally designated someone to do so, your doctor will ask your closest available relative or friend to help decide what is best for you. Most of the time that works; however, sometimes everyone doesn't agree about what to do. That's why it is helpful to have an Advance Directive.
Click here for the Advance Health Care Directives form.
For Information on Advance Health Care Directives and forms in Spanish click here.
These documents are called Advance Directives because you prepare them before healthcare decisions need to be made, and because they state who will speak on your behalf and what should be done. Sometimes treatment decisions are hard to make and it truly helps your family and your doctors if they know what you want. An Advance Directive also gives them legal protection when they follow your wishes. This is why it is important for adults of all ages to have an Advance Directive.
Advance Directives forms are available at all Sansum Clinic locations. If you would like more information about Advance Directives or desire assistance with completing the form, you may contact the Health Resource Center at (805) 681-7672 or drop by the Center at 215 Pesetas Lane. Or you may attend one of our free health edcuation programs on the topic of Advanced Health Care Directives. This program is free of charge and open to the community. Click here for schedule and registration.
Advanced Health Care Directive - FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Who decides about my medical treatment?
Your doctors give you information and advice about treatment. You have the right to choose. You can say "Yes" to treatments you want and "No" to treatments you don't want, even if the treatment might keep you alive longer.
Q: How do I know what I want?
Your doctor must tell you about your medical condition and about different treatments and pain management alternatives. Many treatments have side effects and your doctor must tell you about these possible problems. Often, more than one treatment might help you, and people have different ideas about which is best. Your doctor can tell you which treatments are available to you. The choice of treatment is yours to make and depends on what is important to you.
Q: What if I'm too sick to decide?
If you can't make treatment decisions, you doctor will ask your closest available relative or friend to help decide what is best for you. Most of the time that works; however, sometimes everyone doesn't agree about what to do. That's why it is helpful if you say in advance what you want to happen if you can't speak for yourself by preparing an Advance Health Care Directive.
Q: Do I have to wait until I am sick to express my wishes about health care?
No. It is better to choose before you get very sick or have to go into a hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare facility. You can use an Advance Health Care Directive to express your wishes.
Q: What is an advanced health care directive?
In California the Advance Health Care Directive let's you state what kind of treatment you want and who you want to speak for you if you are not able to speak for yourself. The person you choose to speak for you is known as your health care "agent". This person will have legal authority to make decisions about your medical care if you become unable to make these decisions for yourself.
Sometimes treatment decisions are hard to make. The Advance Health Care Directive helps your family and your doctors to know what you want. It also gives them legal protection when they follow your wishes.
Q: Who can fill out an advanced health care directive?
You can, if you are 18 years or older and of sound mind. You do not need a lawyer.
Q: Who can I name to make medical treatment decisions when I am unable to do so?
You can choose an adult relative or friend you trust as your "agent" to speak for you when you're too sick to make your own decisions.
Q: How does this person know what I would want?
In the Advance Health Care Directive you will make choices about the kind of medical treatment you want and what you don't want. After you choose someone to be your agent, talk to that person about what you want. Give them a copy of the form. Talk to your doctor about your choices and give your doctor a copy of the form. Take a copy with you when you go to the hospital or another treatment facility.
Q: When does my agent begin making my medical decisions?
Usually, a healthcare agent will make decisions only after you lose the ability to make them yourself. If you prefer, you can state that you want the agent to begin making decisions immediately.
Q: What if I don't have anybody to make decisions for me?
You may use the Advance Health Care Directive form to write down your health care wishes or instructions. Doctors must follow your wishes about treatment or turn your care over to another doctor who will. Your doctors are legally protected when they follow your wishes.
Q: Are there any other forms that I can use?
The Advance Health Care Directive is recognized as the legal form in California. You can use another form if you wish. You can even write down your wishes on a piece of paper and have it witnessed by someone not involved in your health care. However, the Advance Health Care Directive is the form that meets legal requirements in the event a disagreement arises about following your wishes.
Q: What if I change my mind?
You can change or revoke any of these documents in writing at any time as long as you can communicate your wishes.
Q: Will I still be treated if I don't fill out these forms?
Yes. You will still get medical treatment. It is good to know that if you become too sick to make decisions, someone else will make them for you and will follow your wishes.
Q: How do I get more information about advanced health care directives?
Begin by talking to your doctor. He or she needs to understand your preferences in order to carry out your wishes.
You may pick up a copy of the Advance Health Care Directive at:
Sansum Clinic Registration desk and Patient Liaison Office at 317 West Pueblo
Sansum Clinic Registration desk and Patient Liaison Office at 215 Pesetas Lane
Sansum Clinic Primary Care offices
Sansum Clinic Health Resource Center at 215 Pesetas Lane.
The staff at the Health Resource Center can also help you to complete the form and to discuss other forms or issues related to your healthcare.
Call (805) 681-7672 for more information.