Advance Care Planning

What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance care planning is a process by which you learn about health care decisions that might need to be made at end-of-life, consider those decisions ahead of time, and let others know your preferences. These preferences are often put into an advance directive, a legal document that goes into effect only if you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. It helps others know what type of medical care you want (or don’t want), allows you to express your values and name a health care agent (i.e., someone who can make decisions for you if you are unable to speak for yourself).

Good advance care planning starts with an important conversation with loved ones about your hopes, fears, and wishes for end-of-life and is revisited when life circumstances change (e.g., when you start each new decade of your life, when a loved one or health care agent dies or disagrees with your preferences, when divorce happens, when you are diagnosed with a serious illness, or when you are unable to live on your own).

 Since 2012, Fort HealthCare, Rainbow Hospice Care, and Watertown Regional Medical Center have been participating in a statewide initiative called Advance Care Planning & Advance Directive by the Wisconsin Medical Society. Together, our three organizations have trained several staff known as “certified advance care planning facilitators”. That is, people who have the skills needed to guide you through this important conversation and help you complete the document.

Individuals interested in scheduling a facilitated advance care planning conversation can call Fort HealthCare at (920) 568-5279, Watertown Regional Medical Center at (920) 262-4298 or Rainbow Hospice Care at (920) 674-6255. This is a free service and, to date, more than 1,000 such conversations have taken place locally.

Advance Care
Planning involves taking two important steps. 

1) Starting the conversation.

Call to schedule a facilitated conversation and put your end of life care wishes in place.

2) Completing your Advance Directive.

The attached Power of Attorney for Health Care form can be completed during your facilitated advance care planning conversation.

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