The Health Care Proxy, also referred to as an advance directive, provides an opportunity for patients to plan for future medical care in the event that they become unable to make decisions. Advance directives allow patients to explore, discuss, and articulate preferences regarding medical care, including life-sustaining treatments. The document not only serves the purpose of allowing a loved one to make end of life decisions, but also provides useful guidance in the event that the patient is temporarily unable to make decisions regarding treatment options that may be designed to save the patient’s life.
Take Steps to Protect Your Wishes
Eighty percent of Americans who are in a persistent vegetative state are between the ages of 18 and 30 years old. It is estimated that 14,000 to 35,000 people are in such a state in this country. The unfortunate reality is that no one thinks this will ever happen to them.
If you haven’t done so already, there is really no reason for you to put off this simple step to avoid what could potentially be a difficult experience for you and members of your family. Speak to your health care provider to get more information about how to protect your wishes and your rights by completing a health care proxy. Also, Advance Directive packets are available, free of charge, at Baystate Health facilities from our community health information centers, or our patient registration staff.
Request a Visit From a Hospital Representative
Because the Baystate Health staff strongly believe in the importance of making your wishes known in the event of an unforeseen circumstance, volunteers and hospital representatives are available to visit your civic, church or business group to explain this important Massachusetts legal document. For more information, please call Cheryl May, RN at 413-773-2736 (for Baystate Franklin Medical Center) and Baystate Health Link at 1-800-377-HEALTH for all other locations.
MOLST (Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) is a medical form that may be used when a seriously ill person wishes to express preferences about life-sustaining medical treatments. MOLST (Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) is part of a national program. It advocates effective communication of patient wishes and documentation of them on a brightly colored detailed order sheet that health care providers should honor.
MOLST is intended for voluntary use by patients of any age who are nearing the end of life due to serious advancing medical conditions, including life-threatening diseases, chronic progressive diseases, life-threatening injuries or medical frailty. When completed and signed by the patient (or authorized representative) and the clinician, the patient’s MOLST form constitutes an actionable medical order that can be recognized and honored across health care settings in Massachusetts.
Download the MOLST form.