Advance Directives

The purpose of an advance directive is to provide information about your beliefs and wishes when you cannot do this for yourself. The best time to make healthcare decisions is before you are ill when you can carefully consider your options.

Advance directives are tools for clarifying your values and wishes for care in serious health conditions. These tools will support and guide your family in making decisions for you if you are unable to speak for yourself.

Creating an advance directive involves thinking about what type of care you want or do not want and discussing your wishes with your family, physician, and loved ones.

Did you know?

  • Advance directives are not only for the elderly or ill—they are good care for everyone. If a person has a sudden medical emergency, it is helpful to have all healthcare decisions already made.
  • In New Hampshire, a law gives your next of kin the legal authority to speak for you about medical decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
  • If you have a sudden emergency, your advance directive will give your loved ones the peace of mind to decide about your care, relieving them of the emotional burden.
  • Advance directives have nothing to do with inheritance or financial beneficiaries. A healthcare agent is not allowed to sign financial documents.
  • It is not a care plan. When a person lacks capacity, it informs family and healthcare providers about their values and preferences so that a plan can be developed that reflects their own values (including who should be their decision-making proxy).
  • Advance directives do not dictate a person's hospital care. They were created to protect people from receiving unwanted care. Advance directives are not a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order.
  • Advance directives are legal documents, but you do not need a lawyer to complete them.

After completing an advance directive

You are responsible for keeping a copy of your valid advance directive in your medical record so that your healthcare providers know your wishes. After you have provided a copy to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, it will be scanned into your medical record and be available to your healthcare providers in your electronic chart. The copy will be stored in your paper chart.

To submit your advance directive to us, please:

Our responsibilities

Our goal is to provide every patient with the appropriate type and level of care consistent with good medical practice.

Our staff recognizes that you, as a competent adult over the age of 18, have a right to make decisions about your medical and/or surgical treatment, as well as your right to create an advance directive. Under New Hampshire state law, your healthcare provider must comply with your advance directive.

If your healthcare provider objects to or does not agree with the conditions in your advance directive, he/she must withdraw immediately from your case and make arrangements to transfer your care to another healthcare provider who is willing to comply with your advance directive.

For a copy of the Manchester Ambulatory Surgery Center Advance Directives policy, please contact our office at 603-629-1800.