So, what is Advance Care Planning? It’s discussing and documenting our wishes and preferences for the kind of care and treatment we want or do not want in advance, so that if we are unable to communicate our choices, what we want is understood. Advance planning takes the guessing out of caring. It is a comprehensive process that helps guide you, your loved ones, your trusted advisors, and your healthcare team through conversations before a health crisis.

Wisconsin laws created two forms of advance directives for health care –the living will and the power of attorney for health care (POA-HC).

A living will (Declaration to Physicians) allows you to select the kind of life – sustaining care you would want if injury or illness leaves you in a terminal condition (dying) or a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery.

A health care power of attorney you appoint someone to be your “agent” to make all health care decisions –not just those involving life support – for you if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself.

Though we don’t like to think about it, a change in health or an accident can happen to any of us. That’s why it’s important for all of us, regardless of age or health, to have a plan that documents our health care wishes in case we become unable to make important treatment decisions, or our communicate choices. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has the above advanced directive. These forms, or variations of these forms, may also be available from your attorney, physician or hospital.

To review and/or print a copy of an advanced directive please visit:

Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County