Ethics and Patient Rights

End of Life Care

We are pleased to provide access to information which may be of assistance to our patients in planning for care at the end of life. 

Legal Documents

  • The Living Will is a document that allows one to make a statement that one does not wish to be "artificially prolonged" during the dying process in the setting of a terminal illness.
  • The primary goal of the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is to designate an individual as the one person to make decisions for you if you are ever incapable of speaking for or making decisions for yourself.  The elements of the Living Will may be incorporated into this form if desired. 

Once duly witnessed, these forms carry the force of legal documents.  These documents are specific to the State of Rhode Island, but they may be applicable in other states as well.

Discussing Your Options

Patients are encouraged to discuss their wishes about end-of-life care with their physicians.  Such discussions may take place in the physician's office, at the time of admission to the hospital or at any time during the hospitalization.  Patients and their physicians may want to revisit this discussion (or initiate it if not previously addressed) after recovery from any serious illness or hospitalization.

Hospital chaplains and social work departments are available for assistance in discussing these difficult issues.  If conflicts arise, your hospital Ethics Committee is available to assist with further discussion.