Understanding Advance Directives
An advance directive is a document that pertains to treatment preferences and the designation of a surrogate decision-maker if you become unable to make medical decisions on your own. You are not required to have an advance directive. Advance directives are generally in the form of a living will, life-prolonging procedures declaration, designation of a healthcare representative or proxy or durable power-of-attorney that includes medical decision-making. Advance directives may be revoked or amended at any time. This document has been designed to help you understand Lexington Clinic policies on advance directives.
The Kentucky Living Will Directive Act of 1994 was passed to ensure that patients have the right to make decisions regarding their own medical care, including the right to accept or refuse treatment.
In Kentucky, a living will allows you to leave instructions in four critical areas.
- Designate a healthcare surrogate
- Refuse or request life prolonging treatment
- Refuse or request artificial feeding or hydration (tube feeding)
- Express your wishes regarding organ donation
Anyone age 18 or older can make a living will. The effectiveness of a living will is suspended during pregnancy.
In accordance with the Kentucky Revised Statutes, KRS 311.633, an attending physician or healthcare facility and its employees may refuse to comply with the advance directive of a patient or decision made by a surrogate or responsible party, so long as the patient or the patient’s responsible party or guardian is notified of the refusal. The patient, family or guardian of the patient will be transferred to another healthcare facility which will comply with the advance directive. The patient’s medical records and other information for the continued care of the patient will be provided to the receiving physician and healthcare facility.
A living will is a document that tells your physician or other healthcare providers whether or not you want treatments or procedures that will prolong your life if you are in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious. Procedures that can prolong your life may include use of mechanical respirators to help you breathe, kidney dialysis to clean your body of wastes, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to restore your heartbeat, artificial nutrition or hydration.
State advance directive forms are available upon request. Please contact the administration office at (859) 258-4600.
Advance Directive Policies At Lexington Clinic Ambulatory Surgery Centers
Lexington Clinic Ambulatory Surgery Centers perform elective surgeries and our staff is dedicated to doing everything within their power and training to ensure a patient survives the procedure. On the basis of professional grounds, Lexington Clinic Ambulatory Surgery Centers, its physicians and employees do not honor advance directives with regard to any clinical measures necessary to prolong life, including resuscitation. This extends to all medical conditions and procedures. In the event that any unforeseen complications arise that require transfer to a hospital, an advance directive could be important upon a patient’s arrival at the hospital. Therefore, please advise the surgery center of your advance directive and bring a copy with you to your appointment.
Lexington Clinic Ambulatory Surgery Centers, its physicians and employees do respect and honor a patient’s delegation of his/her right to make informed decisions to another person, even though the patient is not incapacitated. If a patient is unable to make a decision, our physicians and staff will consult the patient’s legal representative or surrogate.
If you would prefer your procedure/surgery be scheduled at a facility that honors all areas of your advance directive, please contact the administration office at (859) 258-4600 and we will assist you with these arrangements.