Advance Directives

Advance Directives

Ask yourself these two important questions:

  • Do you know what life sustaining treatments or interventions you would and would not want if you could not speak for yourself?
  • Would your loved ones know what you would and would not want?

Advance Care Planning (ACP) is a thoughtful process of planning for future medical care at end-of-life, or in the event you should become unable to make your own decisions due to a life-limiting illness or injury. It involves education, reflection, communication and documentation. It is a valuable tool for families as they face difficult decisions about caring for you in your final phase of life or in a life-limiting situation. Studies show that families that engage in the ACP process have less stress, confusion and guilt about their decisions.

10 Steps to Good Advance Care Planning:

  • Understand the process (terminology, legalities, current health status, available tools)
  • Explore your values, beliefs, cultural perspectives and goals for future medical care
  • Appoint a health care surrogate to make decisions for you when you are too sick or hurt to speak for yourself
  • Make informed choices about medical treatment options (understanding the benefits and burdens of CPR, ventilators, feeding tubes, antibiotics, etc.)
  • Discuss your wishes with your surrogate, family, doctor(s), spiritual advisor and anyone else who may be involved in your care
  • Document your wishes in an advance directive
  • Execute your document: Sign and date the document and have it witnessed
  • If needed, follow-up with doctors, clergy or other professionals to provide additional information or guidance
  • Make at least 10 copies to share with your doctor(s), family, and surrogate. Remember to keep a few on hand for admission to a hospital or other health care facility (a photo copy is as legal as the original)
  • Review and update your documents periodically, especially after major life events

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If you have any questions or need further assistance, please feel free to contact our individual facilities:

  • Mease Countryside Hospital: (727) 725-6351
  • Mease Dunedin Hospital: (727) 734-6018
  • Morton Plant Hospital: (727) 461– 8045
  • Morton Plant North Bay Hospital: (727) 841-4674
  • St. Anthony’s Hospital: (727) 825-1103
  • St. Joseph’s Hospital: (813) 870-4258
  • St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital: (813) 870-4258
  • St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital: (813) 870-4258
  • St. Joseph’s Hospital-North: (813) 870-4258
  • South Florida Baptist Hospital: (813) 757-8325
  • Winter Haven Hospital: (863) 297-1877