Advance care planning is the process of coming to understand, reflect on, discuss and plan for a time when you cannot make your own medical decisions. The process is crucial to assist those closest to you and your physician(s) to provide you the best care when you cannot make your own decisions. Through this process you can create a plan. This plan is called an advance directive.
This planning for future medical decisions makes an important difference only when you have taken time to engage in the process of planning.
The planning you are starting is basic planning. If you have or suffer an incurable, serious illness, it is important that you consider planning for your specific, medical condition. Remember, this type of planning is an on-going process that will need to be reconsidered over time or if you develop a serious illness.
For most adults, the best way to document your plan is to use a power of attorney for health care form. A power of attorney for health care document that meets the statutory requirements in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota can be downloaded by clicking here. This document allows you to appoint another person to be your decision-maker or health care agent when you are not able to make your own decisions. You can also appoint alternate healthcare agents. The document also provides you with the opportunity to provide written instructions. Remember, the document will only be helpful if you take time to understand the issues, reflect on your values and goals, and discuss your preferences with those closest to you.
To help you complete this document, we have an on-line, 20-minute tutorial that guides you through each part of the document. To best use this tutorial, first print out the document and have it and a pencil available as you play the tutorial. Click here to access the tutorial (works best in Internet Explorer).