Advance Patient Directive

An advance directive is a general term that refers to a person’s written directions regarding medical care, which can be used in the event that the person is unable to make healthcare decisions. 

Do you have an advance directive? Spending some time reflecting, communicating and filling out a simple form could make an incredible difference. 


Who needs this?

If you’re an adult over age 18, you should have an advance directive.


Why you need it

A serious illness or accident can happen at any time and at any age. Such challenges can create the need for complex choices about end-of-life care, which are difficult to discuss even when people are well. If a loved one is seriously ill, these decisions can seem overwhelming. 


How to begin

You will need to fill out a form. The form we prefer is called a: Power of Attorney for Health Care (POA-HC). This document is used to express your wishes for medical care in any situation in which you are incapacitated. With this document, you appoint a healthcare agent with legal standing to make healthcare decisions that match your stated wishes.

Before you begin to fill out a POA-HC, you should first reflect on questions related to end-of-life issues in light of your beliefs and values, and discuss them with your family, loved ones, clergy and your physician. This can include issues such as:

  • life-sustaining measures such as ventilators and feeding tubes
  • where you desire to spend your final days and hours (i.e., home, hospice, hospital, nursing home)
  • CPR
  • organ and tissue donation

Choosing your healthcare agent

When selecting someone to serve as your agent (and alternate agent) you should keep the following in mind. The agent should be: 

  • someone who is familiar with your wishes
  • someone who is willing to serve as your advocate to ensure that those wishes are carried out, even in conflict situations
  • someone who has the emotional strength to make difficult decisions in very stressful situations

We can help

Please call us at the Center for Spiritual Care 715.717.6594, if you:

  • have any questions
  • would like to have a POA-HC form mailed to you
  • need assistance in completing the form
  • would like to schedule a presentation on Advance Directives for your church or community group