Advocating for advance directives : guidelines for health care professionals

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


An advance directive, such as a Living Will or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, allows a person to give their instructions about future medical care if he or she is unable to participate in decisions due to serious illness or incapacity. Despite the fact the Patient Self Determination Act requires health care facilities to provide patients with information about advance directives on admission, and the public and health care professionals support the use of advance directives, few people actually complete these documents. This project was developed in support of a local community hospital's commitment to promote the creation and use of advance directives. Part one of the project involved working with the hospital's Advance Directive Committee to update and revise the Advance Directive Policy and Procedure to meet Joint Commission Standards. Part two of the project was the creation of an Advance Directive Education Module for health care professionals designed to be used as part of the employees' annual education review. The new policy created a solid framework for health care professionals to follow when working with patients and their health care goals. The computer-based Advance Directive Education Module reviewed general information about advance directives, informed health care professionals of the new Advance Directive Policy and Procedure, and gave facility-specific actions to take when working with patients and their advance directives.




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