Your Health. Your Decisions.

Making sure your wishes are known

We understand being in the hospital can be stressful. Even planned procedures bring some anxiety — and the need to answer some very important questions. Should the unexpected arise, your family, your doctor and your care providers need to know how you feel about a few things. For example...

When you are unable to make decisions regarding your health care, whom do you trust do make them for you?

Are there circumstances in which you would want to limit treatment?

In what situations should life support be stopped?

These are difficult questions — and you and your loved ones should give them thoughtful consideration so that your care and hospital stay result in an experience that meets not just your needs, but your desires.

Support in making the right choice

We have several ways to help you with difficult decisions regarding your hospital care. If you or your family need help or have questions, you can call our hospital operator and ask to speak with any of the following professionals:

• Chaplains/Pastoral Care
• Social Work
• Patient Representatives
• Hospital Administrator
• Ethics Committee
• Palliative Care Team representative (for comfort and pain management)

Providing support to you...and your family

During your stay with us, you will have questions and may face difficult decisions about your treatment. Health care often involves unfamiliar terms and topics, so this brochure provides some basic definitions. If you would like to discuss these topics in more detail, just notify your nurse who will contact the most appropriate person to answer your specific questions.

Advance Medical Directives

Advance Medical Directives are written instructions that allow you to inform your physicians and family members of your wishes. They guide others in making decisions for you when you are not able to communicate.

Medical Durable Powers of Attorney and living wills are written advance directives that follow state law.

Medical Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions

A Medical Durable Power of Attorney for health care allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions for you (called an agent).

Declaration as to Medical Treatment

In Colorado, if you do not name an agent and you have no guardian — and you lack decisional capacity — then your doctor or another health care professional will bring your family and friends together and ask them to name someone to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf. Your doctor and other health care professionals will then communicate with that individual in determining your treatment.

A physician or lawyer can provide additional information and assistance in completing advance directives, and members of HealthONE’s Chaplain Services, Case Management and Social Work departments are also available to provide you with additional information. If someone helps you write an advance directive, make sure that individual is able to answer all of your questions before you complete and sign the document. It is a good idea to involve your doctor in these decisions whenever possible.

Palliative Care (Comfort and Pain Management)

Palliative care is specialized care focused on the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness. Palliative care is NOT the same as hospice care and is not dependent on prognosis. It can be delivered at the same time as treatment that is meant to cure you. The goal is to relieve suffering and provide the best possible quality of life for patients and their families. Ask your physician or other care providers about palliative care.

Ethics Committee & Ethics Consultations

Our mission is to provide you with the best care and communicate that care in a way you understand and in an environment that makes you as comfortable as possible. However, if you have a question or conflict that needs attention, you should know the hospital has an Ethics Committee willing to help you. The Ethics Committee is a specially trained team including physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers, case managers, pharmacists, administrators, patient representatives and community members who work together to help resolve conflicts you may encounter.

The Ethics Committee encourages positive communication, values all perspectives and helps patients and families make medical decisions and choose treatments that are in line with their values and beliefs.

Ethics Consultations are free. All information discussed is confidential. The goal is to listen to your concerns, clarify the situation, understand the dynamics and explore various treatment options and potential outcomes.

When do people ask for an Ethics Consultation?
Typical issues that come to the Ethics Committee:

• End-of-life issues
• Use or refusal of medical interventions
• Questions regarding treatment options
• Patient comfort and pain management
• Family involvement or conflict in care decisions
• Issues of cultural and religious preferences

How to Request an Ethics Consultation
You, anyone close to you, or any member of your health care team may request an ethics consultation by asking to speak with the Clinical Ethics Representative. Ethics inquiries may be made at any time of the day or night and consultations usually take place within 48 hours of the initial request. From within the hospital, dial “0” for more information. For more information:

The Medical Center of Aurora - Administrator on Call - 303-461-5145
North Suburban Medical Center - Operator - dial '0' in-house, 303-451-7800 outside
Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center - Operator - dial '0' in-house, 303-839-6000 outside
Rose Medical Center = Operator - dial '0' in-house, 303-320-2121 outside
Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital = Administrator on Call - 720-201-5166
Sky Ridge Medcial Center = Operator - dial '0' in-house, 720-225-1000 outside
Swedish Medical Center = Operator - dial '0' in-house, 303-788-5000 outside