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Top Concerns & Questions

Learn from these top questions and concerns when making an Advance Directive.

I am healthy, why do I need an Advance Directive?

An accident or serious illness can affect anyone at any age.  Thinking about this in advance gives you the chance to discuss options and concerns with your family and physician to make sure your decisions are right for you.

Don't all Advance Directives mean "Don't Treat"?

Not only do Advance Directives dictate what measures a person does not want, they also include the treatment options a person would like to receive. It is a chance for a person to express his or her personal values and wishes for health care decisions.  Even if life-sustaining treatments are limited by your Advance Directives, you will still receive other treatments that will help you with pain control and comfort.

What is life-sustaining treatment?

Life-sustaining treatment maintains life when an organ or body system has ceased to function at a level adequate for survival. Life-sustaining technologies include antibiotics and other medications, IVs, machines or medical procedures that can keep a person alive.

What about pain and suffering?

Regardless of any decision about choice of care or termination of any life-sustaining treatment, the person will continue to receive appropriate medical and nursing care necessary to attempt to ease pain and suffering.

What about hydration and nutrition?

Life can be sustained by artificial food and water given intravenously or by inserting a tube through the nose or stomach. Under special circumstances, artificial hydration and nutrition may be determined to be a greater burden than benefit to the person and thus may be withheld or withdrawn. If food or water no longer give comfort and a person is imminently dying, or the person’s body can no longer assimilate food; and if after consulting with family, physician and clergy no further treatment is recommended, a Catholic health care institution would be able to honor the person’s request to cease artificial hydration and nutrition.

What is a No Code or Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order?

Every person admitted to an Avera facility will receive life-sustaining treatment, including CPR, unless a decision not to code (not to revive from apparent death) has been previously made. A “No Code” or “DNR” order is made only after thoughtful discussion between the physician, a competent person and any others involved in the decision-making process.

If a decision is made that one should not receive life-sustaining treatment and the physician authorizes a “No Code” or “DNR” order, it does not mean that all medical and nursing care will be withheld. Supportive care will continue to be provided.

Can the individual appointed make a decision contrary to my express wishes or against medical practice?

No. The individual must follow your expressed wishes stated in your Advance Directive and must consider the physician’s recommendations. The decision by the individual appointed must be in accordance with accepted medical practice and, at Avera facilities, with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs).

Likewise, in order to be followed at an Avera facility, your Advance Directive must be in accordance with accepted medical practice and the ERDs.

Moving Health Forward

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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