In Illinois, you can sign several different types of advance health care directives. These documents allow you to specify who could make decisions for you if you were incapacitated. The types of directives include a health care power of attorney, a living will, a mental health treatment preference declaration, and a do not resuscitate order.
Health Care Power of Attorney
A health care power of attorney allows you to choose a person as your agent. The agent can make medical decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself. You only give the agent this power if you are incapacitated, which has a specific legal meaning in Illinois.
In the health care power of attorney document, you can specify exactly which decisions your agent can make. For example, your agent could make all health care decisions for you or only a decision about when to end life support. Also, you can include instructions about making anatomical gifts or other end-of-life preferences.
A living will tells medical providers which procedures you prefer if you have a terminal condition. Unlike a health care power of attorney, a living will applies only in case of terminal diagnoses, not just if you are incapacitated. There are limits on which treatments health care providers can cease – for example, they will not stop giving food and water if that would be the only reason for death. If you have a living will, you or an agent should notify your health care providers so that they can follow it.
Mental Health Treatment Preference Declaration
The Illinois Mental Health Treatment Preference Declaration allows you to specify which mental health treatments you want to receive. You can say whether you want to receive psychotropic medicines or electroconvulsive treatment, and whether you want to be admitted to a mental health facility for a short stay.
If you would like, you can name an agent in the Declaration who can make mental health decisions for you if you cannot. This agent can be the same one you name in a health care power of attorney or someone different. But you cannot choose your mental health professional as an agent.
Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR)/Practitioner Orders For Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
An DNR/POLST order tells doctors that you do not want to receive CPR if your breathing or heart stops. Note that you, your attending doctor, and a witness need to sign a DNR/POLST order for it to be effective in Illinois.
Want to sign an advance health care directive? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.