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J AHIMA. 1992 Feb;63(2):85-98.

Tools for advance directives. American Health Information Management Association.

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  • American Health Information Management Association.


This issue of the Journal of AHIMA contains a Position Statement on advance directives. Here we have included several "tools" or helpful documents to support your organization's ongoing education regarding advance directives. First, we offer a "Sample Policy and Procedure" addressing the administrative process of advance directives. This sample policy was adapted from a policy shared by Jean Clark, RRA, operations director with Roper Hospital in Charleston, SC, and a director on the AHIMA Board of Directors. Do not automatically accept this policy and procedure for your organization. Instead, the health information management professional could use this sample to write your organization's own, specific policy and procedures that are consistent with your state's law and legal counsel's advice. The second article, "Advance Directives and the New Joint Commission Requirements," compares 1992 Joint Commission standards for Patient Rights and The Patient Self-Determination Act requirements. Selected sections from the Joint Commission chapter on Patient Rights are highlighted and comments added that contrast it with the act. "Common Questions and Answers Related to Advance Directives" is the third tool we offer. These questions and answers may be used for a patient education brochure or staff inservice education program outline. Again, information specific to your own state needs to be added. The fourth tool we offer is miniature "Sample Slides" or overhead transparency copy that can be enlarged and used for a presentation on the basics of advance directives for a community group for staff education. We thank Dee McLane, RRA, director, Medical Information Services at Self Memorial Hospital in Greenwood, SC, who developed these slides for presentations conducted at her hospital. We also thank Jeri Whitworth, RRA, who produced the graphics on these slides. Whitworth is a first year director on the AHIMA Board of Directors this year. Again you can use as is or consider these a model as you develop your own presentation geared for your specific audience. Last, but not least, we include samples of a "Living Will Declaration" and a "Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care" forms reprinted with permission from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). We include them here so you can examine the language of each type of advance directive. Copies for your organization should be requested from AARP at 1909 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20049, (202) 662-4895. Forms specific to each state are available from The Society for the Right to Die/Concern for Dying at 250 W. 57th Street, New York, NY 10107, (212) 246-6973. The requirement under The Patient Self-Determination Act became effective December 1, 1991, but the educational requirements of the act are meant to be ongoing. These "tools" are to help you continue to be a regular contributor to the educational process in your organization.

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