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Advance Directives: Making Informed Decisions About Your Medical Care

All patients at JFK Medical Center have the right to make their own informed decisions about medical care. This section offers an overview and link to documents that will help guide you in the event that you cannot make your own decisions.

Understanding Advance Directives

Advance directives are documents that allow you to state your wishes, or name someone who will state your wishes for you, to receive or refuse medical treatment if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. In most cases, you can discuss your course of medical treatment with your physician and family. Only when you are unable to speak for yourself is your advance directive activated. We encourage you to think through these issues, share your wishes with your loved ones, and put them in writing.

Federal law requires hospitals to give adult patients information on advance directives. Be sure to let your family and doctors know if you have an advance directive.

  • Advance directives do not need to be notarized; only witnessed, signed and dated.
  • Two witnesses are required. Only one of them may be a family member or caregiver.
  • Not having an advance directive will not impact your access to care.
  • Having an advance directive will not affect insurance policies or premiums.
  • Advance directives executed in another state are valid in New Jersey.
  • If one advance directive conflicts with another, the later document supersedes.
  • You can revoke an advance directive at any time.

Advance Directive Forms

Below are links for free advance directive resources – including a form for your use in determining your medical wishes.

JFK Medical Center Advance Directive Form
Click here to download a copy of the Advance Directive

The American Hospital Association
http://www.aha.org/advocacy-issues/initiatives/piiw/index.shtml

Caring Connections
http://www.caringinfo.org/files/public/ad/NewJersey.pdf