Thank you for choosing The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano for your health care needs. Our goal while you are a patient in our hospital is to help you have the best possible experience from your stay here. This requires everyone--you, your family and your health care team--to all work together and communicate clearly. So Baylor has prepared A Guide to Your Care to help you work with your health care team to achieve the best possible outcome. It will also help you understand what your rights and responsibilities are while you or a family member is a patient at Baylor Plano and provide you with important contact information.
Although we try to always communicate clearly, we know that hospitals can be confusing places, especially in the setting of a serious illness. We hope you will always take any questions or concerns you might have first to your physicians, nurses and other members of the treatment team. The information contained on this Web site provides access to additional useful information, especially if you or your loved one is facing a serious illness.
If a serious illness is present, it will be helpful to read our Information about Serious Illness handout. This information cannot replace direct conversations with your health care team, but it may further guide you and your family through this difficult time. It is every doctor's and nurse's goal to first help their patient recover and get well and to always relieve suffering as much as possible. Sometimes though, our hopes for recovery are not realized. Because none of us can live forever, it is wise to plan for a time in the future when we may be so ill that we cannot communicate or make our wishes known and we cannot recover.
Planning for the Future - Put Your Wishes in Writing
Unexpected end-of-life situations can happen at any age, so it's important for all adults to have an advance care plan for health care. It's a smart thing to do. Like all planning for the future, it involves thinking ahead. Baylor has prepared a guide to Advance Care Planning to help you plan for the unexpected. No matter what your age, whether you're 18 or 80, by documenting your wishes in advance, you relieve your family from having to make heart-wrenching decisions about your care later. Advance directives describe what treatment you want or don't want if you are faced with a serious accident or illness. These legal documents speak for you when you're not able to speak for yourself. Having written instructions can help reduce confusion or disagreement. Any competent person age 18 or older may prepare advance directives. There are four basic types of advance directives in Texas.
In Texas, the Living Will or Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates is a legal document that helps you communicate your wishes about medical treatment when you are unable to make your wishes known because of illness or injury. This living will spells out the types of medical treatments and life-sustaining measures you do and don't want, such as mechanical breathing (respiration and ventilation), tube feeding or resuscitation. If you prefer, you may communicate your wishes using the Simplified Advance Care Planning tool, which also is a directive to physicians and family or surrogates.
The Medical Power of Attorney(MPA) is a legal document that designates an individual to make medical decisions for you in the event that you're unable to do so. A medical power of attorney is sometimes called a durable power of attorney for health care. However, it is different from a power of attorney authorizing someone to make financial decisions and transactions for you.
An Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Order - (en Español) is a request to not have electrical shocks, a tube in your throat, and/or chest compression if your heart stops or if you stop breathing. This is separate from a living will or a medical power of attorney. It is the only legal document that will prevent paramedics from attempting a resuscitation should your heart and breathing stop outside the hospital. Because attempts at cardiopulmonary resuscitation usually do not work when a person has a terminal disease or very advanced age, this type of document can be very important in preventing suffering at life's end.
Other Important Information for Patients
The following documents also will help you understand some of the issues and treatments that all patients and their families need to know, especially when making medical decisions in the face of serious illness or injury. They include common questions and answers about:
Important Contact Information lists official health care agencies such as The Joint Commission and the Texas Department of State Health Services and specific departments within Baylor Health Care System medical centers.
You can also specify in your advance directives any wishes you have about donating your organs, eyes and tissues for transplantation or your body for scientific study. Or you can register online to be an organ donor. If you wish to donate your body for scientific study, contact the medical school closest to your home for details.