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Legal and ethical decisions

Helping you make healthcare decisions

We respect your wishes concerning medical care, including the right to accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment. If you become unable to make your own decisions, we can help you determine the best treatment decision for you.

Will I need to give consent for treatment? During admission, you will be asked to sign a Conditions of Admission form to grant us permission to treat you and to release medical information concerning your treatment to your insurance company.

What happens if I am unable to make my own decisions about the kind of care I want? We encourage you to make your wishes known to your doctor and family before you are admitted to the hospital. State law requires us to ask you about advance directives (living will, healthcare power of attorney) upon each hospital admission. On admission, we will also ask for and make copies of these documents for your medical record if you already have them. If not, and you wish to complete an advance directive, the nursing units on each floor will supply you with an educational booklet and advance directive forms upon your request.

Advance directives

All of our hospitals follow the instructions expressed in a patient's advance directive to the extent required by law. Advance directives typically include:

  • A written description of the medical care you would, or would not, want in the future if you were unable to speak for yourself. This description should be based on your values and what is important to you.
  • The name of someone who will make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself.

For a patient who is unable to make, or make known, medical decisions and does not have an advance directive, we will get consent from the patient's spouse, parents, guardian, nearest relative or other person authorized to speak for the patient. Learn more about advance directives here »

Ethics committee - There may be a time when you are called upon to make a difficult decision about life-sustaining treatment – either for yourself or a family member. We have an ethics committee to help you in such circumstances. Read more about our ethics committee here »

Organ and tissue donation - There is great need for organ and tissue donors. By becoming a donor, you can save a life. Learn more about organ and tissue donation here »

Patient bill of rights and responsibilities - We are dedicated to serving your needs and providing for your care and comfort. We want you to know that you have certain rights and responsibilities as a patient. Read more about the patient bill of rights »

We’re working every day to help you and your family become more proactive with important healthcare decisions. If you still have questions after reviewing this section, contact the Novant Health UVA Health System hospital in your area.