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Health Care Proxy & Ethical Decisions

Planning for medical treatment

Adults in Massachusetts have the right to accept or refuse medical treatment, including life-sustaining treatment. This means that your family member has the right to request or consent to treatment, to refuse treatment before it has started and to have treatment stopped once it has begun.

Sometimes due to illness or injury, people are unable to talk to a doctor and decide about treatment themselves. You may wish to plan in advance to make sure that your loved one’s wishes will be followed if he or she becomes unable to decide on their own.

Appointing someone your loved one can trust to decide about treatment is the best way to protect his or her treatment wishes and interests. Every patient has the right to appoint someone by filling out a form called a Health Care Proxy.

Download Health Care Proxy

Or you can call the Social Work/Care Coordination Department at 978-287-3170 for assistance.

Download Authorization to Use and Disclose Protected Health Information Form

To request a copy of your family member’s health information from Emerson Hospital, please download, complete and mail this form back to the address at top of form.

Ethics Committee

Although most ethical concerns are resolved in discussions involving patients, families and caregivers, Emerson Hospital, like many hospitals today, provides an Ethics Committee.

The Ethics Committee offers confidential consultations to patients and their families on matters that may involve ethical concerns such as end of life care, consent for medical interventions when the patient is unable to participate in the discussion or decisions to discontinue treatment. The role of the Committee is to advise and help clarify medical situations with uncertainty or conflict, societal values and moral or legal issues.

The Committee is a group of physicians, nurses, social workers, hospital chaplain, administrators and a community ethicist who meet on a regular basis at Emerson Hospital.

Any patient, family member or caregiver may request a consultation with the Ethics Committee by asking a hospital nurse, physician, chaplain or social worker or by calling the Patient Care Coordinator at 978-369-1400. This service is available at no charge.