Advanced Directives


You have the right to make decisions about your health care. No health care may be given to you over your objection, and necessary health care may not be stopped or withheld if you object.

Because your health care providers in some cases may not have had the opportunity to establish long-term relationship with you, they are often unfamiliar with your beliefs and values and the details of your family relationships. This poses a problem if you become physically or mentally unable to make decisions about your health care.

In order to avoid this problem, you may sign the Advanced Directive document to specify the person(s) whom you want to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions personally. These people are known as your health care agent. You should take some time to discuss your thoughts and beliefs about medical treatment with the person or persons whom you have specified. You may state in this document any types of health care that you do or do not desire, and you may limit the authority of your health care agent. If your health care agent is unaware of your desires with respect to a particular health care decision, he or she is required to determine what would be in your best interests in making the decision.

The Advanced Directive is an important legal document. It gives your agent broad powers to make health care decisions for you. It revokes any prior power of attorney for health care that you may have made. If you wish to change your Power of Attorney for Health Care, you may revoke this document at any time by destroying it, by directing another person to destroy it in your presence, by signing a written and dated statement or by stating that it is revoked in the presence of two witnesses. If you revoke, you should notify your agent, your health care providers, and any other person to whom you have given a copy. If your agent is your spouse and your marriage is annulled or you are divorced after signing this document, the document is invalid.

You may also use this document to make or refuse to make an anatomical gift upon your death. If you use this document to make or refuse to make an anatomical gift, this document revokes any prior document of gift that you may have made. You may revoke or change any anatomical gift that you make by crossing out the anatomical gifts provision in this document.

Do not sign the Advanced Directive unless you clearly understand it.

It is suggested that you keep the original of this document on file with your physician.

For more information about Advance Directives, visit Wisconsin Department of Health Services.