Legal & Ethical Decisions

While in the hospital, you may have to make decisions about your care. At Tenet Health Central Coast, we want to make sure you’re well-informed for when those moments occur. You may want to consider asking a lawyer to prepare a few documents in advance that will help with future health care decisions. We value your rights and want to keep you informed every step of the way.

Advance Directives

You have the right to formulate an Advance Directive that indicates your treatment preferences, should you become incapacitated. An Advance Directive is a legal document that tells your doctor and your family about the types of life support that you want to be provided or withheld in case you’re no longer able to make decisions for yourself. If you would like more information about an Advance Directive, please consult your physician, your nurse, the Admitting Department or one of our Clinical Social Workers.

Health Care Surrogate

You have the right to name a person to make medical treatment decisions for you by appointing a Health Care Surrogate. This person is allowed to make health care decisions for you, but only after two doctors have agreed that you’re no longer able to make your own health care decisions.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

Under State Law, when you’re unable to choose the medical treatment that you want because of your illness, a Durable Power of Attorney for Health care Form can help you identify someone qualified to make treatment decisions for you when your doctor says that you cannot. A Durable Power of Attorney for Health care allows you to designate someone to give or “withhold consent for treatment". The "Attorney in Fact's" right to give consent depends on what you say in writing and how it is signed. In order to take advantage of this state law, you may consult an attorney. Durable Power of Attorney for Health care forms, as well as the California Natural Death Act form is available in Admitting, or by contacting one of our Clinical Social Workers.

If you already have an Advance Directive or a Health care Surrogate, please tell your doctor and this hospital. It is a policy of Tenet Health Central Coast to honor a patient's health care decision to the full extent required or allowed by law. You’re not required to give advanced health care direction in order to receive care here. It is a policy of the hospital to ask you questions regarding your Advance Directive and other health care decisions at the time of admission. If your admitting doctor has not addressed this information with you on your first day of hospital stay, please notify your nurse.

DNR Comfort Care Directives

DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Comfort Care directives detail for health care workers that they are not allowed to:
  • Start an IV (intravenous line)
  • Provide respiratory assistance
  • Insert a breathing tube or artificial airway
  • Initiate cardiac monitoring
  • Alternative means of intervention

Patients may consider the following options should surgery be needed and are curious as to how the DNR Comfort Care status may affect doctor decisions during operations:

  • Discontinue advance directives during surgery
  • Continue advance directives but modify during surgery
  • Request no changes made to DNR comfort care orders