2007 -- H 6359

Enacted 05/15/07



J O I N T  R E S O L U T I O N




     Introduced By: Representative Joseph M. McNamara

     Date Introduced: May 02, 2007



     WHEREAS, The General Assembly has found that adults have the right to make

decisions concerning medical treatment; and

     WHEREAS, The General Assembly has enacted legislation to permit Rhode Islanders to

exercise their right to make medical decisions through Advance Care Planning by the Durable

Power of Attorney for Health Care Act and Terminally Ill Patient Act even when they can no

longer communicate for themselves; and

     WHEREAS, Advance Care Planning permits a person to make health care decisions in

advance of losing their ability to communicate; and

     WHEREAS, Rhode Island law authorizes two (2) types of legal documents for advanced

care planning: the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and the Living Will; and

     WHEREAS, Hesitancy to talk about end-of-life issues, while understandable, places a

heavy burden on people at a time when suffering and loss can be overwhelming: and

     WHEREAS, A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care allows Rhode Islanders to

designate another person to step into their shoes and carry out their wishes for medical treatment

should they become unable to do so themselves; and

     WHEREAS, A Living Will allows Rhode Islanders to express that their medical wishes

be carried out even at a point when they are unable to communicate those wishes; and

     WHEREAS, An understanding of the availability the Durable Power of Attorney for

Health Care and Living Will will help to ease the stress and difficulties that family and friends

face toward the end of a person's life; and

     WHEREAS, Greater information and communication in the general community about

end-of-life and hospice care will give Rhode Islanders more comfortable avenues through which

they can discuss these important matters; and

     WHEREAS, Advance Care Planning affects citizens of all ages; however, elderly persons

have a greater likelihood of not being able to exercise their fundamental right to make decisions

concerning medical treatment because of illness or disorders; and

     WHEREAS, Per capita, Rhode Island has the sixth largest percentage of elderly residents

making the need for awareness and accessibility to advance care planning extremely important

for them; and

     WHEREAS, The variety of medical treatments available to patients may create a difficult

decision if a patient has not utilized advance care planning; and

     WHEREAS, The Department of Health, through its various public service

announcements and communications, reaches many people throughout our state. Clearly a

campaign to remind people of the wisdom of discussing end-of-life issues and to encourage

advanced care planning can be of enormous benefits to our citizens; now, therefore, be it

     RESOLVED, That this General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Providence

Plantations hereby recognizes the important benefits of advance care planning to the citizens of

the state; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That this General Assembly proclaims November 26 though November 30,

2007 as "Advance Care Planning Awareness Week"; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the General Assembly respectfully requests the Department of Health

to use its power to advocate for and support the end-of-life and advanced care planning for the

citizens of RI; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the Director of the Department of Health.