Advance Care Planning

Every adult has the right and responsibility to express their wishes about their own health care. Yet, only 1 in 4 adult Americans have made their wishes known to their families, friends and doctors. We are all encouraged to have conversations with loved ones about our goals, values and preferences for future health care needs. And, the best time to do this is before a medical crisis occurs.

An Advance Care Plan provides information about your wishes to your family and health care providers in case illness or injury prevents you from telling them yourself. This planning process helps you clarify what others need to know if you have a serious illness or become unable to make health care decisions for yourself. When you put these wishes in writing, it is called a Power of Attorney for Health Care.

How to Begin Planning?

1. Reflect on Your Values 

Who you are, what you believe and what you value are all shaped by your experiences. Religion, family traditions, jobs and friends affect us deeply. Reflecting on your experiences will help you clarify your beliefs.

2. Choose a Health Care Agent

Your health care agent is appointed by you to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to because of injury or illness. Many people select a close family member, but you may choose anyone you think could best represent you.

3. Explore Choices for Treatment 

Understanding your choices and goals for care will help guide your health care agent and health care providers. Your doctor can help answer questions concerning your choices.

4. Put Your Wishes in Writing

Based on your understanding, reflection and discussions, carefully complete your Power of Attorney for Health Care.

Schedule an Appointment

UnityPoint Health - Meriter offers FREE visits with a trained advance care planning facilitator to help you with the planning process. At these visits, you will have the opportunity to discuss your treatment preferences, appoint your health care agent and complete your written Power of Attorney for Health Care.

Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Extended appointment times are available if needed. Call Nursing Services at (608) 417-6010 to schedule an appointment.

Resources:

What Is Advance Care Planning?

How can the Advance Care Planning Faith Ambassador Education Program Help Us?