Living Wills and Other Advance Directives
We never want to think about the end of life. But it's important for everyone to plan for it. Even if you are not sick or injured now, you should consider what kind of care you would want if you were. What if you were unable to express your wishes?
This is where advance directives can help. Advance directives are legal documents that tell your providers and family what you want for end-of-life care.
Please note: You can still get health care if you do not have advance directives. This includes being admitted to a hospital or other facility.
There are several kinds of advance directives. They include:
A living will is a legal document that tells others your wishes for care that could keep you alive if you were in danger of dying. This care might include life support systems.
Health Care Power Of Attorney
A health care power of attorney is a document in which you choose a person to make health care decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself. You must give this person permission in writing to make your health care decisions for you.
Mental Health Treatment Preference Declaration
A mental health treatment preference declaration lets you say if you want to receive electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) or psychotropic medicine when you have a mental illness and are unable to make these decisions for yourself. It also allows you to say whether you want to be admitted to a mental health facility for up to 17 days of treatment.
Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders
You can also ask your primary care physician (PCP) to help you make a Do Not Resuscitate, or DNR, order. A DNR order is an order for medical treatment that says cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, will not be used if your heart and/or breathing stops. If this is something you want, talk to your PCP about helping you with a DNR order.
If you do not have an advance directive, talk to your PCP. Or call Member Services at
1-866-212-7851 for information. To link to pdfs of the different advance directive forms, visit the Illinois Department of Health Services advance directives web page at www.idph.state.il.us/public/books/advin.htm.