Living Will / Power of Attorney

What happens if you become too sick to make your own decisions regarding your medical care? Your family and doctor must decide what treatment to use, when not to treat, and when to stop treatment. Sometimes they don't know what you would want, or are not able to agree on what would be best for you. It is important to Beloit Health System to carry out your wishes. By having an Advance Medical Directive and a Durable Power of Health Care, it will ensure that we care for your health care needs according to your choices. Directives are optional and your health care will not be affected if you decide against it. If a physician has a concern about honoring your wishes, you or your designee may consider transferring care to another physician or requesting consultation with the Health System's Ethics Committee. If you would like to have more information on Advance Medical Directives ask your nurse or call Social Services at 608-364-5686.

Patient Self-Determination Act
In 1990, Congress passed the Patient Self-Determination Act (PSDA), requiring hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaids funds to ask adult patients whether they have an Advance Directive (Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care or Declaration to Physician/ "Living Will" ). We have an obligation to inform competent patients not only of their right to informed consent/refusal, but also of their right to formulate an Advance Directive in accordance with Wisconsin State Law. An Advance Directive is a document written in advance of serious illness that states your choices for health care or names someone to make those choices if you should become unable to make health care decisions about your future medical treatment. The Patient Self-Determination Act reaffirms our commitment honoring the ability and right of the individual to participate in his or her own health care decisions. Please call the Patient and Family Services Department at 608-364-5130 if you have questions or need further information on Advance Directives.

Code Status
Your Code Status is a message to your health care providers (doctors and nurses). Your code status tells them what attempts to make to save your life in case your heart stops or your breathing stops. It is very important for us to know your wishes while you are in the hospital. It is also important to know, that no matter what decision you or your Durable Power of Health Care designee decide, you will still receive pain relief, antibiotics, nutrition and comfort measures. Please talk to your nurses and doctors about this important subject.

There are some choices you can make:

  • DNR: You can be allowed to die naturally or let nature take its course. This is called No Code or Do not Resuscitate (DNR). This means that no heroics will be done. There will be no attempts to restart your heart or your breathing. You WILL continue to receive any other care and treatments and pain control as you and your doctor agrees upon.
  • Full Code: You can choose to have everything possible done. This means that if you need it, you will receive IV's, medications, CPR, (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) breathing tubes, or electricity through your heart. Ask your nurse if you don't understand these actions. These actions are continued until they are successful or it is clear you will not survive. This is called a Full Code.
  • Limited Code: This means you want some things done but not others. Your doctor can help you understand the possible actions.
  • All surgical patients will be a Full Code unless you tell your physician otherwise. This is only during or immediately after surgery. All Family Care Center patients will be a Full Code unless otherwise indicated.

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