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Advance medical directives - you and your choices. Today you can choose your doctor, you can choose to have surgery or not and you can choose when you will receive medical treatment. But what happens if you are in a serious car accident that leaves you in a permanent coma with no chance of recovery or you had advanced Alzheimer's and could no longer make decisions for yourself? Who would make decisions about your medical treatment? Would your family and physicians know your wishes?

Advance directives make your wishes KNOWN! Advance directives are only used when you can no longer speak for yourself and make your own decisions about medical treatments. Advance directives are documents you fill out to ensure that your choices are respected. Advance directives are easy to fill out. You do not need an attorney. Your advance directive may be used to note specificto instructions regarding your choices, for example your choice about respirators (machines that pump air into your lungs when you can no longer breathe on your own), about feeding tubes and IVs (methods to feed or give fluids to you when you can no longer eat normally), about cardiopulmonary resuscitation - CPR (a method to restart your heart) and about comfort treatments (medications and care that can relieve pain and make you more comfortable). Advance directives can give you and your family peace of mind.
Basic Questions and Answers about Advance Directives

There are four types of medical advance directives in Illinois: the Living Will (LW), the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPoAHC), the Mental Health Treatment Declaration (MHTD) and the Illinois Department of Public Health sponsors a DNRorder/Advance directive for decisions regarding the administration of CPR.
Statement of Illinois Law on Advance Directives


All of the advance directive forms are Adobe Acrobat files and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to open them. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, click here for a free downloadable copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Filling out a Living Will is an opportunity to record that you would not want aggressive or artificial forms of treatment to be provided after your physician has determined that you are actively dying of a terminal, incurable or irreversible disease or injury.
Illinois Living Will Declaration Form (PDF Format)
Illinois Living Will Declaration Form (Spanish) (PDF Format)

Filling out a Power of Attorney for Health Care form allows you to specify a person (an 'agent') whom you would like your health care providers to speak to about your medical care if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
Illinois Power of Atorney for Health Care, Statutory Short Form (PDF Format)
Illinois Power of Atorney for Health Care, Statutory Short Form (Spanish)
(PDF Format)

The Mental Health Treatment Declaration enables an adult of sound mind to declare in advance her preferences or instructions for mental health treatment should she become unable to make decisions for herself, and to identify who should make decisions on her behalf in these circumstances (called an 'attorney-in-fact').
Illinois Declaration for Mental Health Treatment Form (PDF Format)
Illinois Declaration for Mental Health Treatment Form (Spanish) (PDF Format)

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Uniform Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Advance Directive allows you, in consultation with your physician, to make an advance decision that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should not be attempted if your heart and/or breathing stops. CPR refers to various medical procedures used in an effort to restart a person's heart and/or breathing. In the absence of a DNR Order, health care professionals will automatically begin CPR when an individual's heartbeat and/or breathing stop.
Illinois Department of Public Health Uniform Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Advance Directive Form (PDF Format)
Illinois Department of Public Health Uniform DNR Advance Directive - Guidance for Individuals
Illinois Department of Public Health Uniform DNR Advance Directive - Guidance for HealthCare Providers & Professionals

The Clinical Ethics Center provides educational material on advance directives for healthcare professionals and the general public.  The Center has published a book on Advance Directives and Surrogate Decision Making in Illinois, and offers presentations/workshops on advance directives.  For more information or for assistance in completing an advance directive, call 217-757-2353 or email Clinical Ethics Center.

Remember medical advance directives are only for making medical decisions, not for decisions about your property or money.


Questions or comments - email us at Clinical Ethics Center
Last Updated February 27, 2007
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