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Advanced Directives

What is an advance directive? An advance directive is a written set of instructions that can be placed in your medical record that allows you to be in control of your treatment decisions. It can help your family, friends, and doctors follow your wishes if you are unable to make a decision after a serious illness or injury.

They are called advance directives because they are signed in advance to let your doctor and other healthcare providers know what your wishes concerning medical treatment and who you want making medical decisions on your behalf.

When you record your advance directive, what should your keep in mind?
• Know and understand your treatment options
• Decide future treatment options you may want
• Discuss your choices with your family

Why should you have an advance directive? When you are unable to speak for yourself due to an illness, your doctor might be unclear as to what type of care you would prefer. Your advance directive can tell your doctor what medical treatment you want or do not want to have. The State of New Mexico established a decision-making hierarchy of people that can be referred to about different types of life-sustaining treatments you might receive if you do not have an advance directive, including:

• A spouse
• An individual who is in a long-term relationship with the patient, and feels they are responsible for the patient’s well-being
• Adult children
• Either parent
• Adult siblings
• Grandparents
• Any adult who has shown special care for the patient, and who is familiar with his or her personal wishes.

If you’re over the age of 18, New Mexico law recognizes your right to decide what medical care and treatment you want or do not want to receive.
There is no charge if you complete an advance directive at the hospital. If you are not a patient and wish to speak to someone about an advance directive, you can call the hospital and ask to speak with a Social Worker, 505.609.2000

Advance Directive PDF
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