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Advance Care Planning

Advance directives are documents that legally describe to your doctor and your family what kind of care you would like to have if you become unable to make medical decisions on your own. Once you are admitted to the hospital, our staff will probably talk to you about advance directives. However, we encourage patients to think about their advance directives long before they need surgery or become ill.

Your advance directives can describe the kind of treatment you would want, depending on your level of illness. For example, a directive may describe the level of care you would expect to receive in the event that you are unlikely to recover from a medical condition, or if you become permanently unconscious. Advance directives inform your physician in writing that there may be some certain types of treatment that you wish to avoid. However, advanced directives can also declare that there are other treatment options you are willing to pursue no matter what the level of illness. Advance directives are filed at the hospital as well as with your primary care provider.

Advance directives in New Hampshire specifically include the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and the Living Will documents. We urge you to be aware of advance directive laws as they apply to the state in which you live.

Upon admission to the hospital, you should bring a current copy of your advance directives. Individual situations and wishes change, so the hospital cannot assume the validity of any previous or current admission advance directives on file with us.

If you have questions or concerns regarding advance directives, the hospital encourages you to talk with your physician and loved ones. If you need additional information about how to execute an advance directive, please contact the Care Management Department at (603) 335-8144. To learn more about Advance Care Directives and to index forms visit the Foundation for Healthy Communities.

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