Genesis Health System is committed to sustaining life despite disabilities, handicaps, or advancing age. For example, if your heart or breathing should stop, we will try to revive you. Often this might include the use of machines or other artificial means. However, there are times when efforts to prolong your life could be futile or more burdensome than you want. Therefore, we will try to revive you unless it is futile or you have given clear directions not to do so.
You, the patient, have the right to be informed about your condition and accept or refuse the treatment available. When you are awake and thinking clearly, you yourself can tell us what treatment you want.
However, there may be times when you are not able to speak for yourself. There are several ways you can still have your wishes followed if that should happen.
- You can give written directions in advance. You may do this on a form called a "Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions." This form lets you name the person who will speak for you. It lets the person you name make choices only when you are unable to speak for yourself. You can write down special directions for the person to follow in choosing treatment for you on this form. A form for this can be obtained from the Iowa or Illinois State Bar Associations. You may want to talk with your lawyer when you fill it out.
- Another form is called a "Living Will." A Living Will only gives your preferences when you are terminally ill. (Terminally ill means that while some form of medical treatment may help you live a little longer, treatment will not prevent the illness from causing your death within a short time.)
- You may talk with your family. If there is no dispute about what you have directed, your doctors will generally accept their decisions.
- You may talk with your doctors. You can let them know what you want done if you become unable to speak for yourself. When you were admitted to Genesis Medical Center, you were asked if you have a "Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions" or a "Living Will." These are sometimes called "Advance Directives." Information about these documents can be provided to you. If you need another copy call Continuum Services at (563) 421-7000. We want to do everything we can to understand and follow your wishes. But, there could be a directive that your doctor or the policy of Genesis Medical Center believes to be contrary to our values. If your doctor or the hospital cannot in good conscience carry out a directive, we will assist you, or the person making the decisions for you, in transferring your care. If you want more information about Genesis Medical Center's policies, please ask your nurse or doctor.
For further information, please read more about your choices in Advance Directives.