If you become unable to express your wishes, how will you have a say in your medical care? The answer is Advance Directives — simple legal documents that let you appoint a health care decision maker and specify your basic health care preferences. If you do not bring Advance Directive(s) with you, you can get the necessary forms (and assistance filling them out) by contacting the Health Information Management Department at 414-805-2909. Do Advance Directives "lock you in" to certain choices? No. You can cancel or replace your directives at anytime.

You have the right to make decisions about your health care. This includes the right to accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment. You also have the right to plan and direct the types of health care you may receive in the future if you become unable to express your wishes. You can do this by making an Advance Directive document.

Advance Directives

Advance Directives are documents that include:

These documents legally tell in writing either who you would wish to make your health care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so, or provide guidance to your physicians regarding how you would wish your health care be decided in the event that you have a terminal condition or are in a persistent vegetative state.

Advance Directives are your personal wishes. When you create an Advance Directive, you'll consider many issues about your health care in the event you are unable to verbalize your wishes yourself.

In a Living Will, these issues include life-sustaining procedures such as ventilation, feeding tubes in the event you are in a terminal condition or persistent vegetative state.

In a Power of Attorney for Health Care, these issues can be addressed, but also include who you would wish to speak on your behalf as your agent, in the event you are unable to do so yourself. An Advance Directive does not; however, include decision-making for mental health issues or treatment.

Learn More

We've put together a list of some of the most frequently asked questions to help make you an informed health care consumer when it comes to Advance Directives and aid in your decision-making process. You can also review a list of twenty-five topics that should be discussed before making a Power of Attorney for Health Care. We have also compiled a list of other sites and resources for you to explore.