Vol. 8 No. 1
March 1998

Insuring Quality Community Healthcare

Winthrop's Advance Directive Initiative

The Winthrop South Nassau University Health System Opens Homecare*America Superstore in Mineola

Winthrop Welcomes Three New Directors

Winthrop Opens a Second, Fully Monitored Neurosurgical Intermediate Care Unit

Winthrop's $12 Million New Life Center is on Track for July, l998

Winthrop's Long Island Regional Poison Control Center Observes Fifth Anniversary of Averting Danger, Saving Lives

Patient Unit is Dedicated to the Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Long Island's First Dual Chamber Defibrillator is Implanted in Winthrop's Electrophysiology Lab

Report from The Heart Institute at Winthrop: Third Cardiac Catheterization Lab is Authorized by State Department of Health

Winthrop's Artificial Heart Device Program: A Revolutionary Treatment for End-Stage Heart Disease Patients

Winthrop's Dialysis Centers Receive National Award for Patient Encouragement - One of Only Six Programs in the United States to be Recognized

Endoscopic Ultrasound: On The Forefront of Technology

Long Island Chapter of Impotents Anonymous Meets at Winthrop, Filling an Intimate Need ---Confidentially

Winthrop's Stem Cell Autologous Transplantation Therapy Program Saves a Life - And Can Save More!

Winthrop Adds Powerful New Radiological Intervention

Winthrop Auxilians Donate Service, Talent, and Creative Fundraising

Winthrop's Division of Reproductive Medicine Makes Parenthood Possible

Dialysis is technology...but caring is an art.

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Neither Youth, Health nor a Personal Philosophy of Self-Determination Can Protect You from an Incapacitating Accident or Mishap. Now, There Is a Legal Way to Ensure that Your Healthcare Instructions Are Respected - in the Event You Cannot Speak for Yourself.

Jeffrey Berger, MD displays the Advance Directive Kit.
Accidents, trauma, and injuries can occur without warning, depriving people of consciousness, mental capacity, and ability to speak for themselves. One's health status could unexpectedly deteriorate, and without an Advance Directive - a Healthcare Proxy - even those who are closest to us would be unable to direct our care.

Many people naturally expect their families to assume decision making responsibilities in the event of their incapacitation. However, the law restricts family authority to decisions about CPR and non-life sustaining treatments. The most reliable mechanism for empowering family members to make necessary healthcare decisions is the Advance Directive, which designates a legal Healthcare Proxy.

Unfortunately, many of us, including healthcare professionals, are unaware of the critical and unique significance of these legal documents.

As part of Winthrop's ongoing commitment to the promotion of advance health planning, the Hospital recently launched a highly effective initiative, reaching out to employees, patients, and community residents. In a three-pronged approach, Winthrop's Bioethics Committee, headed by Jeffrey Berger, MD, the Department of Patient Relations, and the Department of Risk Management, collaborated on the project, which drew a resounding community response. Winthrop's Advance Directive Initiative was widely reported in Nassau County newspapers, and many readers called the Hospital to request free materials.

The first group of Winthrop employees to be targeted for intensive inservice education and counseling were the direct caregivers, including Nurses, Physicians, and Respiratory Therapists. All were strongly encouraged to speak with patients about Healthcare Proxies. Eventually, all Winthrop employees were provided with free Advance Directive kits and, if they wished, individual counseling. More than 4,000 Advance Directive kits were distributed to employees, with many taking extra kits for family members and friends.

Why not take advantage of your legal rights by preparing an Advance Directive, clearly outlining your healthcare instructions? Advance Directives carry the full weight of federal and state law. The "Patient Self-Determination Act," a federal law passed in 1991, protects your right to accept or refuse medical treatment, as detailed in an Advance Directive. New York State also has its own Healthcare Proxy Law, allowing the appointment of another adult to communicate a patient's treatment preferences. All competent adults can appoint a healthcare agent by signing the Healthcare Proxy, and having it witnessed by two adults. A lawyer is unnecessary.

To obtain free Advance Directive kits from Winthrop, containing a guide to decisions about Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and "Do Not Resuscitate Orders" (DNR), just call E. Jean Zebroski, Patient Relations Coordinator, at 516/663-2058.

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