Informed Consent and Advance Directives: Your Right to Determine Your Own Care

It is your right to accept or refuse medical treatment. Your doctor must clearly explain the advantages and risks of any procedure, tests or treatments. Based on this information, you must give your permission for such care. You have the right to refuse any treatments. This process is called informed consent.

When you cannot tell us your wishes, we assume you want treatment to continue. It is important that you let your healthcare providers know if there are times when you would not want treatment to continue. In Maine you can communicate your wishes by using the Maine Healthcare Advance Directive Form.

An Advance Directive protects your right to make decisions about your care if you become unable to choose or tell us your wishes due to an accident or an illness. By using Advance Directives you can tell your loved ones, your doctor and your hospital how you would like to be cared for if you cannot communicate such information. To prepare an Advance Directive, you must be 18 years of age and have the ability to give informed consent.

Advance Directives can be changed or revoked as you make new decisions about your healthcare. Also, each document will be carefully reviewed before your healthcare providers act upon the Directive.

We do not require you to have, or prohibit you from having, an Advance Directive. You will be cared for in either case.

Your Advance Directive will determine the type of care you receive only if you are unable to make your own decisions. At all other times, you will make decisions for yourself. In the unlikely event that your doctor or the hospital is unwilling to carry out your Advance Directive, every effort will be made to transfer your care to another doctor or hospital that is willing to do so.

The decision to prepare an Advance Directive should be made after careful thought and discussion with those important to you. At CMMC we encourage your active involvement in your medical care. We urge you to talk about these matters with your loved ones, your doctor and others, including your lawyer and your clergy.

More information about these documents is available upon request -- just ask a member of your healthcare treatment team.

For additional resources visit the National Healthcare Decisions Day website.