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Advance Directives

Let others know your wishes about the type of care you want.

You have the right to make your healthcare wishes known via documents such as a living will or a power of attorney for healthcare. These documents are generally known as advance directives. Such documents allow you to write down specific instructions related to your healthcare, especially regarding end of life treatments. They also allow you to name a substitute decision maker in the case that you lose the ability to make your own medical decisions. The hospital protects your right to formulate advance directives and takes steps to protect and respect that right. Be sure to complete advance directives so that your loved ones know what your wishes are and your wishes can be followed.

Different states have different laws about advance directives. Check with the Department of Pastoral Care or Health Social Work if you have any questions.

Advance Directives include:

Living Will 
This set of instructions explains the type of life-prolonging medical care you wish to accept or refuse. It can include your wishes about the use of resuscitation (CPR) if your heart stops, a ventilator if you stop breathing, or feeding tubes or IVs if you cannot eat or drink.

Power of Attorney for Health Care (POAHC)
This is a legal document that names your substitute decision maker — someone who can make medical decisions for you if you’re unable to do so. An official substitute decision maker can represent your wishes about emergency care but also about other medical issues like potential treatment options, blood transfusions, kidney dialysis, etc. Choose someone you trust, discuss your medical wishes, and make sure the person agrees to represent you in this role.

Declaration for Mental Health Treatment
This document allows you to make decisions in advance about three types of mental health treatment:

  • Psychotropic medication
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Short-term admission to a treatment facility

In addition to the documents above, the State of Illinois recognizes the "POLST" form which stands for Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. This form is a signed medical order that documents the life-sustaining treatment wishes of seriously ill patients.

Fill Out Your Forms
Make sure your advance directives are up-to-date each time you go to the hospital so your most current information and wishes are known. You do not need a lawyer to complete these advance directives.

For more information and to get the forms need, contact:

  • Pastoral Care at 312.996.0296
  • Health Social Work at 312.996.0293