You have the right to make health care decisions, including decisions about nursing home care, for yourself. Under the law, a patient must consent to any treatment or care received. Generally, if you are a competent adult, you can give this consent for yourself. For you to give this consent, you should be told what the recommended procedure is, why it is recommended, what risks are involved with the procedure, and what the alternatives are.
If you are not able to make your own health care decisions, your advance directives can be used. An "advance directive" can be an Individual Instruction or a Power of Attorney for Health Care.
- An "Individual Instruction" is a directive concerning a health care decision. An Individual Instruction can be written or oral. No specific format is required for Individual Instructions.
- A "Power of Attorney for Health Care" ("PAHC") is a document through which you designate someone as your agent to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make such decisions. The PAHC comes into play when you cannot make a health care decision, either because of a permanent or temporary illness or injury. The PAHC must specifically authorize your agent to make health care decisions for you and must contain the standard language set out in the law. This language is included in the form of the PAHC contained in the Form section in the linked booklet below. Otherwise, the PAHC can contain any instructions which you wish. If you are unable to make a decision and have not given or prepared individual instructions or a PAHC, you may designate an adult of your choice, called a surrogate, to make health care decisions for you. If you do not appoint a surrogate, the members of your family may make decisions for you.
For more information on advance directives and your rights as a patient, read more about Patient Self-Determination Act/Mississippi Advance Health-Care Directive booklet.
For more information and resources on the value of advanced healthcare planning, visit the National Healthcare Decisions Day website here.
Source: Mississippi State Department of Health Web site www.msdh.state.ms.us