What are advance directives?
Advance directives are a way to plan for future healthcare choices. The best time to think and talk to family about medical decisions is when the patient is well rather than in a time of medical crisis. There are two major types of advance directives: a Living Will and Designation of Healthcare Surrogate.
A Living Will allows you to choose what medical care you would or would not want if you could not speak for yourself.
The Designation of Healthcare Surrogate is a legal form that lets you name another person who can make medical decisions for you if you are unable to speak for yourself. If you are under 18 years old, your legal "next of kin" (your parents, for instance) will make these decisions for you and you do not need to complete the form. Patients 18 years and older are legally able to make their own healthcare decisions.
The Johns Hopkins All Children's Spiritual Care Department can give you advance directive forms. One of the chaplains will be glad to help you with this process or with any questions you have. To talk with a chaplain, please call 727-767-4258 (or extension 74258 from a hospital phone).