Providence Hospital’s philosophy, values and moral principles as a Catholic health ministry guide our provision of medical care and other services. We see life and health as a basic good and we respect the personal autonomy of each individual. Life is to be nurtured and protected, but need not always be prolonged when doing so is futile. In any case, whatever the treatment plan or possibilities, Providence Hospital pledges itself to always care for its patients and their loved ones.
In light of our commitment to the provision of quality service and our respect for all persons, Providence Hospital respects the basic right of all individuals to make an informed decision about their medical care. This right is also protected under the law. When a patient has expressed his or her wishes in the form of an advance directive (sometimes called a “Living Will”) , the hospital will comply with the advance directive to the extent allowed by Alabama law and in keeping with our ethical principles.
Patients may have personal reasons for choosing to execute or not execute advance directives concerning their health care and medical treatment. Providence Hospital does not condition provision of medical care or otherwise discriminate against an individual based on whether or not an advance directive has been executed. We will comply with the Patient Self Determination Act (PSDA), as required by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 and Title 22 Chapter 8A of the Code of Alabama. The purpose of the PSDA is to protect all adult inpatients’ rights to participate in healthcare decision-making to the maximum extent of their ability and to prevent discrimination based on whether or not patients have executed advance health care directives.
Upon admission, Providence Hospital will provide to all adult inpatients (any person 19 years of age or older) written information that describes an individual’s rights under Alabama law to accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment and the right to formulate advance directives. We will also provide each patient with a summary of the hospital’s policies and procedures regarding advance directives. We will ask each adult inpatient upon admission whether they have executed an advance directive. Finally, Providence Hospital will provide each patient a copy of the Advance Directive for Healthcare form.
Any competent adult may execute an Advance Directive directing the providing, withholding, or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and artificially provided nutrition and hydration. A competent adult may execute at any time an Advance Directive that includes a written health care proxy designation appointing another competent adult to make decisions regarding the providing, withholding, or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and artificially provided nutrition and hydration.
We encourage patients to contact their attorney, clergy and/or friends to assist them with decisions regarding advance directives, and to serve as witnesses should they chose to sign an advance directive. Advance directives must be witnessed, and witnesses must be 19 years of age and must not be related to the patient by blood or marriage, entitled to inherit from the patient’s estate, or be directly financially responsible for the patient’s medical care.
Contact the Providence Hospital Social Services Department
If you have any questions about advance directives, please call the Providence Hospital Social Services department at (251) 633-1340.