Medical & Advanced Directives

Medical & Advanced Directives

As a patient at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute you have the right to make your own decisions about your medical care. However, along with these rights come certain responsibilities. The purpose of this information is to tell you about your rights and responsibilities as a patient.

Your Rights & Responsibilities

In general, as long as you are able to make decisions on your own, your wishes will be followed. This includes decisions about use or withholding of CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) in emergency situations.

If you should become unable to make decisions about your medical care, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute would respond to your “Advance Directive.” Under Michigan law you may appoint someone to carry out your wishes for you if you become unable to do so yourself.

This “Advance Directive” must be made before you become unable to act on your own behalf. The person you appoint is called a Patient Advocate. The document that you would use to appoint your Patient Advocate is called a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.

You are not required by law to designate a Patient Advocate. However, if you do so, it is much easier for your doctors, nurses, and family members to know and follow your exact wishes under various circumstances.

If you have an Advance Directive be sure to have a copy added to each of your medical records. A different chart may be used for each doctor or clinic area even within the same organization. 

Advanced Directive Resources

Karmanos' Social Work Department offers resources to help patients in planning for "Advance Directive" and choosing a Patient Advocate from the Michigan State Medical Society.

  • Q&A About Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
  • Designation of Patient Advocate Form
  • Five Wishes - a booklet, or living will, you complete documenting your personal, spiritual, emotional and medical needs when going through a serious illness. This document is legally binding in most states.

If you would like a copy of either one of these resources call 800-527-6266 and ask for the Karmanos Social Work Department, talk to members of your health care team or the staff in the registration or admitting department for more information.