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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 durable power of attorney (POA) for healthcare. These documents are generally known as an "Advance Directive" for healthcare. Such documents allow you to write down specific healthcare directives, especially regarding end of life treatments, and to name a substitute decision maker in the case that you loose 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. Fill out advance directives so your loved ones know what your wishes are and that 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:
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 healthcare proxy—someone who can make medical decisions for you if you’re unable to do so. An official healthcare proxy can represent your wishes on emergency care but also on 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.
In addition to AD documents, Illinois has a form called "POLST" which stands for Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, which is a signed medical order that documents 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 fill these out.
For more information and to get the forms you need, contact:
Health Social Work