Your doctors and support staff will give you information and advice about treatment, so that you can make the best decision for yourself.
Your doctor must tell you about your medical condition, and what different treatments and pain management options can do for you. He or she will also inform you about potential side effects of treatments, procedures and medications.
Often, more than one treatment might help, and different medical professionals will have different ideas and opinions about which would be best. That choice is yours to make and depends on what considerations are most important to you.
Yes. Patients often turn to relatives and close friends for help in making medical decisions. These people can help you think about your choices, and the possible implications. You can ask your doctor or nurse to talk with these people, so they better understand your options.
Yes. Ask the doctor to list that person as your health care “surrogate” in your medical record. The surrogate’s control over your medical decisions is effective only during treatment for your current illness or injury or, if you are in a medical facility, until you leave the facility.
If you haven’t named a surrogate (see above), your doctor will ask your closest available relative or friend for assistance. Most of the time, this works. Sometimes, though, everyone doesn’t agree about what to do. That’s why it is helpful to indicate in advance what you want to happen if you can’t speak for yourself. Through an Advance Health Care Directive, you can designate who you want to speak on your behalf and even what kinds of treatments you want.