Advance Directives

Advance Directives

As of October 1, 2006, Connecticut laws regarding Advance Directives preserve every patient’s right to make his or her own health care decisions. In Connecticut, there are two types of Advance Directives:

        • The Living Will or Healthcare Instructions 
        • The Appointment of a Healthcare Representative

The State of Connecticut Attorney General's "Living Will:  Your Rights to Make Healthcare Decisions" includes the following forms; each form includes the optional witness affidavit form.

  1. A Combined Advance Directive form with the appointment of a health care representative, living will, appointment of a conservator and organ donation. This form allows you to choose or not choose each kind of directive by signing your initials.
  2. An Appointment of Healthcare Representative form if you wish to only appoint a healthcare representative. 
  3. A Living Will or Healthcare Instructions form if you wish to only make your wishes known, but not appoint anyone to act on your behalf.

Patients who present Living Wills or other advance directives, such as a Healthcare Agent or Power of Attorney for Healthcare, completed prior to October 1, 2006 are still valid.

On October 1, 2006, the Healthcare Representative replaced the Appointment of a Healthcare Agent and Power of Attorney for Healthcare. The Healthcare Representative is, in effect, a combination of these two types of advance directives. The new Living Will makes clear that the Living Will can be used to provide your instructions regarding any type of healthcare, not just life support systems.

Living Wills, Health Care Agents and Organ Donation
Connecticut law provides patients with the right to accept or refuse medical care and the right to state these wishes in advance through the use of legal documents called living wills and/or health care agents. You have the right to accept or refuse medical care.

Upon admission to the hospital, you will be asked whether you have one or both of these documents. (It is a good idea to bring copies of these documents if you have them.) You will also be asked whether you have any wishes concerning organ or tissue donation.

These questions are not meant to cause you any concern. We simply want to be certain we know and respect your wishes during your hospital stay.

The Patient Self-Determination Act is a federal law which requires hospitals to ask about these documents each time a patient is admitted. You are not required to have these documents, however it is your right by law to be given information about these documents, should you choose to complete them during your hospital stay.

Your physician office can give your more information or you may consult with a hospital social worker by calling 860-210-5410.

Do Not Resuscitate
All patients at New Milford Hospital will receive full resuscitative measures unless a "do not resuscitate" (DNR) order is written on the medical record. A "do not resuscitate" (DNR) order means that in the event of a cardiac or respiratory arrest, resuscitative cardiopulmonary measures will not be initiated or carried out.

A DNR order is written only after lengthy and careful discussion between you and your physician, and, if appropriate, your family. Your wishes are always honored in these cases and you and your family are the ones to decide whether heroic or resuscitative measures are to be used.

DNR orders from other facilities will be followed when a patient is transferred to New Milford Hospital as long as the proper paperwork and an orange bracelet accompanies the patient.

Ethics Committee
New Milford Hospital has established an Ethics Committee which acts as a forum for discussion of any questions or problems that may arise related to patients' rights. This committee has an advisory capacity in situations requiring ethical policy interpretation.

Ethical issues may include patient rights, life support, allocation of resources, treatment decisions, confidentiality, informed consent and organ donation.

Staff, patients and family members have access to the ethics committee. Consultation requests should be directed to the chairman of the committee through the Social Work Department at 860-210-5410.