An advance directive is a document that allows you to specify who will make health care decisions for you and states your wishes for medical treatment if you become unable to decide for yourself in the future. Your advance directive may be used to accept or refuse any procedure or treatment, including life-sustaining treatment.
In December 1991, the U.S. Congress passed the Self-Determination Act, which requires health care facilities to ask all patients at the time of admission whether or not they have executed an advance directive, and to provide information about advance directives and health care decision rights.
In accordance with state and federal law, Somerset Medical Center recognizes the right of competent adult patients to make voluntary informed choices regarding health care and to have those choices respected by their caregivers. We encourage patients to communicate their health care preferences and values in an advance directive.
The links below contain information about your rights concerning health care decisions, advance directives and our role in seeing that your rights are protected. It explains your right to make decisions about your own health care under New Jersey law and tells you how to plan ahead for your health care if you become unable to decide for yourself because of an illness or accident.
What are my rights?
What happens if I'm unable to decide about my health care?
What types of advance directives can I use?
Who can fill out these forms?
How should an advance directive be written and witnessed?
Who should I talk to about advance directives?
Where should I keep my advance directive?
Will my advance directive be followed?
Does New Jersey recognize advance directives as legally binding documents?
What happens if I regain the ability to make my own decisions?
What if I change my mind?
What if I don't have an advance directive?
Will I still be treated if I don't fill out an advance directive?
What other information and resources are available to me?
What are "life-sustaining" treatments?
What will happen to my care if I reject "life-sustaining" treatments?
How will decisions be made on my behalf?
Where can I obtain an advance directive?
How do I get more information?