Loyola Begins Advance Directive Clinic | Loyola Medicine
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Loyola Begins Advance Directive Clinic Staffed by ICU Physician

 
MAYWOOD, IL – Loyola Medicine has established a unique clinic dedicated to advance directive planning and staffed by an ICU physician trained in medical ethics.

An advance directive is a written statement, such as a living will or power of attorney for healthcare, that states a person's wishes for medical treatment should they become incapacitated.

Advance directive counseling typically is provided by a chaplain, social worker or case manager. Primary care physicians and specialists also discuss advance directives during office visits, but such conversations often are rushed.

"We are not aware of any other health system offering advance directive services during a dedicated one-on-one consultation with a physician who has a background and training in medical ethics," said Paul Hutchison, MD, MA, who will see patients in the clinic. Dr. Hutchison is an assistant professor in Loyola Medicine's division of pulmonary and critical care medicine.

Dr. Hutchison has studied and conducted research on ethical issues related to end-of-life care. He has a master's degree in philosophy, with a concentration in bioethics, from Georgetown University. As a specialist in pulmonary and critical care medicine, Dr. Hutchison has day-to-day experience in end-of-life care in the intensive care unit.
 
The Advance Directive Clinic is held at the Loyola Outpatient Center in Maywood, Illinois. Each appointment lasts 30 minutes. Dr. Hutchison encourages patients to bring family members.

During the first part of the visit, Dr. Hutchison talks to patients about their values and what type of care they would want. He asks specific questions about a patient's personal sense of dignity and preferences for how they would like to be treated by their healthcare team.

Dr. Hutchison then walks the patient through Illinois' Power of Attorney for Healthcare. In this form, the patient designates an agent (a family member or other trusted person) who would have the authority to make healthcare decisions in the event the patient was incapacitated. The form also enables a patient to specify the type of care they would wish to receive. For example, a patient could state they do not want to have their life prolonged or to receive life-sustaining treatments if their agent believed the burdens of such treatments would outweigh the expected benefits. Alternatively, the patient could state they would want to have their life prolonged to the greatest extent possible in accordance with reasonable medical standards.
 
"We suggest filling out an advance directive when you are healthy, when you are thinking clearly and can make informed decisions," Dr. Hutchison said. "If you wait until you are ill, you may not be thinking clearly enough to complete an advance directive and may miss the opportunity."
 
Dr. Hutchison said there is a misconception that initiatives such as an advance directive clinic have the goal of limiting aggressive therapies. "Instead, the goal is to elicit the patient's values and priorities so the medical team can help them make the best decisions possible," Dr. Hutchison said. "We respect the dignity of every human being and recognize the importance of an individual's autonomy and ability to make decisions for themselves."
 
The Advance Directive Clinic is one component of Loyola Medicine's program for trust and dignity in medicine. Other components include initiatives to improve care for terminally ill patients in the ICU and research on the use of advance directives and palliative care.

Loyola Medicine is a regional Catholic healthcare system, and Dr. Hutchison said the Advance Directive Clinic conforms to the church's Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. Directive No. 24 states: "In compliance with federal law, a Catholic healthcare institution will make available to patients information about their rights under the laws of their state, to make an advance directive for their medical treatment. The institution, however, will not honor an advance directive that is contrary to Catholic teaching. If the advance directive conflicts with Catholic teaching, an explanation should be provided as to why the directive cannot be honored."

 

About Loyola Medicine

Loyola Medicine is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC) in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH) in Melrose Park, MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from more than 1,772 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. The medical center campus is also home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. GMH is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments in a convenient community setting. Loyola Medicine is a member of Trinity Health, one of the nation’s largest health systems with 94 hospitals in 22 states.

About Trinity Health

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 93 hospitals, as well as 122 continuing care programs that include PACE, senior living facilities, and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $17.6 billion and assets of $23.4 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity Health employs about 131,000 colleagues, including 7,500 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity Health is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services — ranked by number of visits — in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs. For more information, visit www.trinity-health.org. You can also follow @TrinityHealthMI on Twitter.