Statement Of Illinois Law On Advance Directives

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State of Illinois
Department of Human Services
You have the right to make decisions about the health care you get now and in the future. An advance directive is a written
statement about how you want medical decisions made when you can no longer make them. Federal law requires that you be
told of your right to make an advance directive when you are admitted to a health care facility. Illinois has these advance
directives: (1) health care power of attorney, (2) living will, and (3) mental health treatment preference declaration. If you
make an advance directive, tell your doctor and other health care providers and provide them with a copy.
Health Care Power of Attorney
The health care power of attorney lets you choose someone to make health care decisions for you if you cannot. You are
called the "principal" in the power of attorney form and the person you choose is called your "agent". You can use a standard
form or write your own. You may give your agent specific directions about the health care you do or do not want.
The agent you choose cannot be your doctor or other health care provider. You should have someone who is not your
agent witness your power of attorney. You can cancel your power of attorney by telling someone or by canceling it in writing.
You can name a backup agent to act if the first one cannot or will not take action. If you want to change your power of attorney,
you must do so in writing.
Living Will
A living will lets you tell your doctor if you want death-delaying procedures used if you have a terminal condition and are
unable to state your wishes. Withdrawal of food and water cannot be done if it would be the only cause of death. If you are
pregnant and your doctor believes you could have a live birth, your living will cannot go into effect.
You can use a standard living will form or write your own. You may write specific directions about the death-delaying
procedures you do or do not want. The living will must be witnessed by two people. Your doctor cannot be a witness. You must
tell your doctor about the existence of a living will. You can cancel your living will by telling someone or by canceling it in writing.
If you have both a health care power of attorney and a living will, the agent you name in your power of attorney and living will, will
make your health care decisions unless he or she is unavailable.
Mental Health Treatment Preference Declaration
A mental health treatment preference declaration lets you say if you want to receive electronconvulsive treatment (ECT)
or psychotropic medicine when you have a mental illness. You also can say whether you wish to be admitted to a mental health
facility for up to 17 days for treatment.
You can write your wishes or choose someone to make your mental health decisions for you. In a mental health treatment
declaration, you may choose someone to make decisions about mental health treatment if you are incapable. In the declaration,
you are called the "principal" and the person you choose is called an "attorney-in-fact". The attorney-in-fact must do what you
say in your declaration unless a court orders differently or an emergency threatens your life or health.
Your mental health treatment declaration expires in three years. If you are competent, you may cancel your declaration in
writing at an earlier time. If you are in mental health treatment, the declaration may last longer than three years and you may not
cancel it. Two witnesses must sign the declaration. Your doctor may not be a witness.
Do-Not-Resuscitate Order
You may also ask your doctor about a do-not-resuscitate order (DNR order). A DNR order means that cardiopulmonary
resuscitation (CPR) will not be started if your heart stops. You and your doctor may decide together that your doctor should write
a DNR order into your medical chart. If you have an accident, such as choking on food, the DNR order still allows health care
workers to give you the Heimlich maneuver or take other appropriate action
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IL 462-0007 (R-1-01)


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