Advance Healthcare Directive

What are Advance Directives?

Click here to download an Advance Directive form.

They are legal documents recognized by the Mississippi law that allow you to give instruction/direction for your medical care if you become unable to do so and cannot communicate your wishes. 
You have the right to accept or refuse medical care for yourself and an advance directive is not required, however, it helps protect your rights if you cannot communicate your wishes due to irreversible brain damage, permanent coma or other unconscious state, illness leading to brain damage and loss of consciousness (examples).  Advance Directives help your family and physician by communicating your wishes, providing guidance and direction for your care.

As a patient you have the right to: (also see Patient Rights & Responsibilities)

  • Privacy and confidentiality – personal and medical information is confidential
  • Informed consent - your physician(s) is responsible for having a discussion about your proposed care, treatment, and services. This discussion should include potential benefits, risks, and side effects; the likelihood of achieving your goals; any potential problems that might occur during recuperation; reasonable alternatives and the consequences and the risks if you do not follow or choose the proposed care and treatments.
  • Information about your condition – you should be kept informed by your healthcare team about your plan of care.
  • Pain management – Your healthcare team will assess your pain and you will be asked to rate your pain using a scale of 0-10.  You should notify your nurse or doctor if you have unrelieved pain.

Advance Directives for Healthcare are directives that address pain management, feeding tubes, your decision(s) to be allowed to die naturally, and authorization to your physician to withdraw life-sustaining mechanisms/equipment under certain circumstances that are used only when you suffer a terminal physical condition which causes you severe distress or unconsciousness (in which you would die soon except for the use of life-sustaining mechanisms). You should discuss your decisions with your physician(s).

One portion of this document gives you the opportunity to name a person and authorize that person to make healthcare decision for you if you are unable to do so.

Before making decisions about advance directives, you may consider the following:

  • Your values
  • Your feelings about dying without pain and prolonging of life by extraordinary means
  • Your religious beliefs
  • Making your own decisions and communicating them to your family before a crisis situation occurs
  • Communicating your wishes with your family and friends

Questions you may have:

What if I am unable to make decisions about my care?  If you become incapacitated, your family may make these decisions or a court may make the decision for you.

What if I have an advanced directive from another state?  To be binding, these documents must meet Mississippi law.  Your physician should review the documents.

Why do they ask for an Advance Directive copy each time I come to the hospital?  These often change and the law requires that a copy of the current document is in your medical record.

What about Organ and Tissue donation?  At the time of death, the next of kin is approached about organ and tissue donation.  It is important to let your family know your wishes about donation.  You may contact MORA at 601-933-1000 or look online at

Where can I get the Advance Directive for Healthcare forms?  Your nurse can print a copy for you or you can download a form here. Brochures are available for patients at Baptist Medical Clinic locations.

After your put your wishes in writing, give your doctor a copy, give a copy to someone who might be contacted in an emergency, and bring a copy each time you come to the hospital.

According to the law, hospital/MBHS employees or representatives CANNOT witness or notarize advance directives. The form indicates the requirements for witnesses or being notarized.


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