Advance Care Planning
Your Right to Make Your Healthcare Decisions Known
SCL Health understands that many people making healthcare decisions want to know that our organization, as a Catholic ministry, will respect your advance care planning and healthcare decisions. We appreciate these concerns and recognize the significance of advance care planning documents, some of which are called advance directives, with regard to:
- Respect for your decisions
- Critical conversations at the end of life
- Patient and family satisfaction
- Quality of care
- End-of-life care
- Palliative care
- Patient safety
In accord with the 1991 federal Patient Self-Determination Act and the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs), our healthcare ministry remains anchored in our respect for our patients and their dignity. We appreciate and respect the rights of people to stay fully informed about their healthcare and have advance care planning documents. This means patients may choose to forgo treatments that "in the patient's judgment do not offer a reasonable hope of benefit or entail an excessive burden, or impose excessive expense on the family or the community." Healthcare in the Catholic tradition cannot honor advance care planning documents or advance directives whose intended purpose is to intentionally hasten death or end life.
Examples of advance care planning documents or advance directives include:
- Medical Durable Power of Attorney: A document that names someone to make healthcare decisions if and when you or a loved one is medically determined to no longer be able to make healthcare decisions. The person named is called a healthcare agent.
- Living Will: A document that informs your doctor of your wishes regarding life-saving treatments if you cannot make your own decisions
- Patient CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) Directive: A document that allows you or a loved one to refuse resuscitation.
- Organ donor document, including organ donor designation on a driver’s license: A signed document, often referred to as an organ donor card, where you or a loved one indicates the desire to be an organ donor and which organs you or a loved one is willing to donate.
Our focus continues to be to provide exceptional care for our patients. Patients have the right to discern and make decisions about all matters in their care, and we respect your right to make the best decisions. As with any complex decision, we encourage you to clearly communicate your wishes with your family and your physician in advance to ensure they factor those wishes into decisions regarding your medical care, especially in situations of end-of-life care.
Each state has its own guidelines regarding advance care planning and we encourage you to study those as you consider your options going forward.