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Living Will & Power of Attorney

The purpose of a living will is to dictate what you would wish should you become too sick to make your own decisions regarding your medical care. This saves your family from making decisions about what treatments to use, when not to treat, and when to stop treatment. Sometimes your loved ones don't know what you would want or are not able to agree on what would be best for you.

It is important to Beloit Health System to carry out your wishes.

By having an Advance Medical Directive and a Durable Power of Health Care, you ensure our hospital staff cares for you according to your wishes. Directives are optional, and your healthcare will not be affected if you decide against it. If a physician has a concern about honoring your wishes, you or your designee may consider transferring care to another physician or requesting a consultation with the Health System's Ethics Committee.

If you would like to have more information on Advance Medical Directives, ask your nurse or call Social Services at 608.364.5130.

Patient Self-Determination Act

In 1990, Congress passed the Patient Self-Determination Act (PSDA). This legislation requires that hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds must ask their adult patients whether they have an Advance Directive, also called a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care or Declaration to Physician. They are also commonly called a "Living Will."

Our staff has an obligation to inform competent patients not only of their right to informed consent/refusal, but also of their right to formulate their own Advance Directive in accordance with Wisconsin State Law. An Advance Directive is a document drafted in advance of serious illness. The purpose of Advance Directive documentation is to have your stated choices for healthcare decisions should you become too ill to make your wishes known. It may also state the name of someone who may make choices in your place should you become unable to make healthcare decisions about your future medical treatment.

The Patient Self-Determination Act reaffirms our commitment to honoring the ability and right of the individual to participate in their health care decisions. Please call the Patient and Family Services Department at 608.364.5130 if you have questions or need further information on Advance Directives.

Code Status

It is very important for us to know your wishes while you are in the hospital. Your Code Status is a message to your healthcare providers that dictates what attempts should be made to save your life in case your heart stops or your breathing stops. No matter what decision you or your Durable Power of Health Care designee make, you will still receive pain relief, antibiotics, nutrition, and comfort measures. Please talk to your nurses and doctors about this important subject.

There are some choices you can make regarding code status:

  • DNR: You can be allowed to die naturally or let nature take its course. This is called No Code or “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR). This means there will be no attempts made to restart your heart or your breathing in the event either should stop. You will, however, continue to receive any other care and treatments and pain control as you and your doctor agree upon.
  • Full Code: You can choose to have everything possible done. This means that if you need it, you will receive IV fluids, medications, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), breathing tubes, or electricity through your heart. Ask your nurse if you don't understand these actions. These actions are continued until they are successful, or it is clear you will not survive. This is called a Full Code. All surgical patients will be a Full Code unless you tell your physician otherwise. This is only during or immediately after surgery. All Family Care Center patients will be a Full Code unless otherwise indicated.
  • Limited Code: This means you want some things done but not others. Your doctor can help you understand the possible actions.
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