Advance Directives

Advance Directives are your written wishes about what you want to happen, if you get too sick to be able to say. The written document that states your Advance Directives is called a living will. You can use either word: advance directive or living will.

Your doctor can give you information on how to make an Advance Directive. If you are in the hospital, the hospital staff can also give you information on Advance Directives. You can also call the Senior Citizens Advocate Office at 787-721-6121. They have free information about Advanced Directives.

A Durable Power of Attorney is a paper that lets you name another person to make medical decisions for you. This person can only make decisions if you are too sick to make your own. He or she can say your wishes for you if you can’t speak for yourself. Your illness can be temporary.

You do not have to fill out these papers for an Advance Directive or Durable Power of Attorney. It is your choice. You may want to talk to a lawyer or friend before you fill out these papers.

To make all of these papers legal, you need to have a lawyer watch you sign the form. Instead of a lawyer, you could also have your doctor plus two additional witnesses watch you sign the form. The two additional witnesses have to be of legal age and they can’t be related to you by blood or marriage.

Once the papers are signed by everyone, it is your rule about what you want to happen to you if you get too sick to be able to say. It stays like this unless you change your mind.

These papers will only be used if you get too sick to be able to say what you want to happen. As long as you can still think for yourself, you can decide about your health care yourself.

Give a copy of the papers to your PCP and to your family members so they know what you want to happen to you, if you are too sick to say.

If you feel that First Medical or your doctors aren’t complying with your wishes, or if you have any complaints, you have the right to call the Vital Call Center at 1-800-981-2737 or the Puerto Rico Patient Advocate Office at 1-800-981-0031. The phone call is free.