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An advance directive is a way for you to make your health care preferences known to those who need to know in the event you are unable to speak for yourself. Each time a patient is admitted, hospitals are required to ask patients about their advance directives.

If you already have formal advance directive documents regarding your health care decisions, such as a living will or designation of a health care surrogate, it is important to bring a copy of the documents each time you are admitted. This will ensure that your medical record contains the most current and accurate information. We will be glad to make extra copies for you. These health care decisions should be clearly communicated by you to your physicians and others involved in your health care, including hospital staff and family members or personal friends.

We also can address your concerns for pain management, including the possibility of palliative care, which is especially suited to assist in the care of individuals with incurable, progressive illnesses, and includes the management of a patient’s physical, psychosocial, social and spiritual needs.

Decisions about accepting or refusing treatment, including life-prolonging or sustaining procedures, should be made after careful consideration. We can assist by providing you with written information, a Living Will document or meeting with you to address your concerns. Sarasota Memorial's Making Personal Choices brochure and Making Personal Choices summary flyer may help you determine what is right for you.