If you are 18 or older and mentally competent, you have the right to make decisions about your medical treatment. If you want to control decisions about your health care, even if you are unable to make or express them yourself, you will need an Advanced Directive. An Advanced Directive is a set of instructions you give about your health care wishes, in the event you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. There are three kinds of Advance Directives: a Living Will, a Health Care Proxy, and Advanced Instructions for Mental Health Treatment. You can obtain these forms from the Admitting Department and/or the Care Management Department.
There may be a time when you are called on to make a decision about health care for yourself or for a loved one. This can often be a confusing, frightening, or painful task. Increased understanding among patients, families and health care providers may lessen your fears and help relieve the burden that such difficult decision-making may cause.
St. Charles Hospital has an Ethics Committee to help you in such circumstances. The Ethics Committee is a group of specially trained people who are prepared to listen and respond to you. They can help get all the facts you need to make a decision, and they can offer feedback and suggestions. They will never come up with a final answer or tell you what to do. If you feel that you need the guidance and assistance of the Ethics Committee, please make your wishes known to one of our healthcare professionals.