You have recently been promoted to Health Services Manager at Three Mountains Regional Hospital, a small hospital located in a mid-size city in the Midwest. Three Mountains is a general medical and surgical facility with 400 beds. Last year there were approximately 62,000 emergency visits and 15,000 admissions. More than 6,000 outpatient and 10,000 inpatient surgeries were performed.
An important aspect of the provider/patient relationship pertains to open communication and trust. Patients want to know that their doctors and the support staff associated with their care understand their wishes and will abide by them. Ideally, these conversations happen well before an emergency or procedure takes place; however, often times this information is missing from a patient’s file. As part of Three Mountains’ initiative to build trust with their patients, an increased emphasis has been placed on obtaining living wills from the patient as part of the intake process to ensure that the healthcare team has written directives of the patient’s wishes in case of incapacitation. You will be creating a living will for a patient and provide educational information as to why the patient should fill it out during the admission process before a procedure.
- Introduction: Explain the definition of a living will and its key components. This section will provide an educational overview of the document for the patient.
- Living Will Template: Create a living will that can serve as a template to the patients. This should cover the basic treatment issues such as resuscitation, feeding tubes, ventilation, organ and tissue donations, etc. Provide instructions in the template that can be easily altered, depending on each patient’s wishes.
- Summary: In this section, you will discuss the importance of this document and encourage patients to complete it. Address how this document ensures that a patient’s wishes are known and followed by the healthcare team.