A child being held by grandpa and kissed by grandma

Advance Directives: Planning Ahead

Who would speak for you if you couldn't speak for yourself? It's time to plan.

At any age, a medical crisis could leave you too ill to make your own health care decisions. Advance care planning allows you to make decisions about the care you would want to receive if you become unable to speak for yourself.

Making your medical decisions known can give you peace of mind that your wishes will be respected, your health care provider will know your preference and you will lessen the burden of family and friends from having to make decisions for you.

In fact, 90% of people say that talking with their loved ones about end-of-life care is important, but only 27% have done so (Conversation Project survey 2013).

It's Time to Start the Conversation.

We encourage all residents to take the time to complete an Advance Directive for Healthcare Decisions. The two documents that are available and implemented in Iowa for this type of planning are the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions or the Medical Power of Attorney and the Declaration Relating to Life Sustaining Procedures or the Living Will. The Medical Power of Attorney assigns the responsibility to another to make health care choices for us when we cannot. The Living Will states our wishes specifically for health care.

The documents do not require the services of an attorney to complete; however both documents must be either witnessed by two people or notarized to become effective. Of the two witnesses, only one can be a relative and neither can be a health care provider currently providing services or an employee of that health care provider. Forms are also available by contacting Grinnell Regional Hospice at (641) 236-2418.

After completion, you will need to provide copies of these documents to your family, your physician or other healthcare providers, your attorney and/or clergy, if appropriate. We will scan this document into your medical record. This will be accessible to you through your patient portal.

A discussion of your wishes is certainly appropriate with those who received the documents to either clarify or verify your wishes. A periodic review of the documents to determine that they still meet your needs would be appropriate. These documents may be completed by anyone over 18 years of age.

Iowa Residents