Many of us are concerned about the medical care we would be given should we have an incurable or irreversible condition and be unable to communicate. This leads us to consider the medical care we want at the end of life. Consulting with your attorney, physician, family and friends in order to put your decisions in writing will help assure that your wishes are followed. These important choices are best made in advance with thoughtful consideration. Making decisions about medical treatment for the end-of-life can be difficult and overwhelming. We at Kalispell Regional Healthcare are committed to providing compassionate and supportive care in the best interest of the patient. Federal law requires health care facilities and programs to ask if you have advance directives. The information is used to respect your wishes.
Also known as a Living Will or Durable Power of Attorney (DPoA) for Health Care, these documents allow you to choose the medical care you want at the end of life, or designate the person you want to make those choices for you. Talking with your doctor, family, and friends and putting your decisions in writing is important. If you already have a Living Will or DPoA, please bring it with you to the hospital and have a copy placed in your record.
Montana POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)
The Montana POLST form was developed as part of a nationwide initiative to standardize Advanced Directives and increase usage in EMS/out of hospital encounters. Kalispell Regional Healthcare promotes utilization of the POLST form within its various entities, but will still accept other advanced directives formats; more information regarding POLST is available at this website.
What Are Advance Medical Directives?
An Advance Medical Directive is a document written before you have a serious illness and/or condition. It states your end-of-life health care choices or may name someone you want to make those choices for you in case you become unable to make decisions. Advanced Medical Directive documents help instruct your physician regarding your wishes to accept or refuse life sustaining treatment if you are in a terminal condition and are unable to express your wishes at the time.
Why Are They Important?
They help you protect your rights. They help your family and loved ones communicate your health care wishes. They help your physician make health care decisions based on your guidance.
What Types Are There?
Living Will - A signed, dated, and witnessed document which communicates your health care wishes should you become terminally ill and unable to speak for yourself. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (Health Care Proxy) - This lets you name another person to make medical decisions for you. This person could be a spouse, family member or friend who knows you well who would act in your behalf.
What Happens If I Don't Have An Advance Medical Directive?
Your physician, your family, and/or perhaps a court would need to intervene regarding your future care. Personal statements you had made about your values and feelings concerning end of life decisions could determine your future medical care.
How Can I Change or Cancel My Advance Medical Directive?
You may cancel your Advance Medical Directive by putting your change in writing, telling someone about the change, and/or destroying your document. If you alter your directive, a copy of the revised directive should be given to your physician and family.
Who Should Know About My Advance Medical Directive?
Your family members, physician and possibly friends should know of your wishes. A copy should be given to your physician and another copy placed with other important papers in a location familiar to family members.
What Am I Declaring By Doing An Advance Medical Directive?
You are making a decision now regarding your future medical care should the following circumstances occur:
1. you have an incurable or irreversible condition; and
2. your death may occur within a relatively short time without life-sustaining treatment; and
3. you are no longer able to make decisions regarding your medical treatment
Kalispell Regional Healthcare has always recognized its duty and obligation to provide services to the community in a professional and confidential manner. Even with today's rapid expansion of computerized medical records, Kalispell Regional Healthcare meets the challenge of balancing patients' need to have their information handled confidentially with our health care team's need to give provide efficient, effective care based on accurate information.
NWHC trains staff and volunteers annually on confidentiality and related issues. We request authorization to release confidential medical records for purposes other than your treatment. We provide information to the local media and clergy on a "need to know" basis. We offer families a confidential status option, where no information beyond required releases will be provided to anyone.
NWHC's policies and procedures are compliant with federal privacy regulations. If you have questions about the confidentiality of your medical records, please contact the Privacy Officer in the Health Information Management office.
Health care decisions can be complex, especially when a patient is in critical condition. If you are troubled by any decisions in your medical care or that of a family member, you may talk to a member of our Medical Ethics Committee, which is made up of doctors, chaplains, social workers, nursing staff, and administrators. You can contact the Ethics Committee through the Quality Management Services office at 752-1774.
Kalispell Regional Healthcare has established this organizational code of ethics in recognition of our ethical responsibility to patients, families, staff, physicians, and the community we serve. Reflective of our mission and values, this code provides the ethical foundation for all policies, procedures, and activities within the organization.
During the admission process, patients are given access to the "Kalispell Regional Healthcare Patient Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" along with other admission papers. This document presents a condensed listing of patient rights and responsibilities from Administrative Policy A401, Patient Rights & Responsibilities. It is very important that you understand this information. Please ask if you have any questions or need any part of the information explained to you. To review a complete and current copy of this policy, contact Quality Management Services, (406) 752-1774.
At Kalispell Regional Healthcare, the patient's rights include, but are not limited to, the following:
Additional information regarding patient rights policies and the complaint/grievance mechanism, including information on how to contact government regulatory agencies directly. For current addresses and phone numbers for the KEPRO, or Medicare, please contact Customer Relations at (406) 751-5434. For this and other issues regarding the Organizational Code of Ethics, Billing Regulations, and Government Regulatory Agencies, you may also contact the Quality Office at (406) 752-1774.
Patient responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the responsibility for: