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Wisconsin & Illinois

Advance Care Planning

Helping you make important decisions for your future

What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning ensures your health care wishes and preferences would be met if you were unable to speak for yourself or make your own decisions. These wishes and preferences are spelled out in legal documents.

Many of us don’t like to think we’ll ever need such written plans. But having your desires spelled out relieves your family members and loved ones from wondering if they “did the right thing” on your behalf. It takes the guesswork off their shoulders and ensures you receive what you want when there is little likelihood of your recovery. It also spells out the care you desire from your health care team.

Advance directives for health care: terms you should know

Illinois and Wisconsin state laws have created two forms of advance directives for health care. Both forms can legally provide for health care decision-making when you are no longer able to do so for yourself.

Illinois forms
• Illinois Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney for Health Care
• Living Will Declaration Form

Wisconsin forms
• Power of Attorney for Health Care
• Wisconsin Living Will (Declaration to Physicians)

Who should complete their advance directives?

Advance directives are important for all adults age 18 and older. The stakes may be higher for young people if there is a tragedy, and for those diagnosed with chronic illnesses such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, dementia, end-stage kidney disease, end-stage liver disease/cirrhosis, and metastatic (spreading) cancer.

We’re here to help you plan

Advance care planning takes more than just signing a document. It can be challenging for many of us, and so we put it off. Medical terms may be unfamiliar. We’re not sure of our options—or what we really want. We just don’t want to think about it.

That’s why Mercyhealth has a team of specially trained individuals called certified advance care planning facilitators. They are here to gently start the conversation with you and your loved ones.

Our facilitators offer free basic health care planning talks to help you:

  • Understand your future health care options
  • Decide what “quality of life” means to you
  • Separate common myths from facts
  • Reflect on your values, goals and religious values
  • Know how to choose someone to make your health care decisions
  • Learn about other professionals who can help you make decisions
  • Read through and complete the documents
  • Know who should have copies and what actually happens with them when you cannot make your own decisions

Create peace of mind for yourself and those you love

Now is the time to think about your future. Mercyhealth’s certified advance care planning facilitators can help get you started.

To schedule your free basic health care planning talk, please call Mercyhealth Advance Care Services at your preferred location:

• Rock and Walworth counties, WI: (608) 756-8248

• McHenry County, IL: (815) 528-1666

• Winnebago, Ogle and Boone counties, IL: (815) 971-7979