Aspirus Comfort Care & Hospice Services

Advance Directives

What are advance directives? 

An advance directive is a written instruction that you make while you are mentally competent that states how you want your health care decisions to be made if you become incapacitated or cannot express your wishes.  Advance directives guide your physician and other health care professionals, and relieve your family and friends from the burden of guessing what types of care and treatment you would want to receive.

Wisconsin statutes recognize two forms of advance directives - the Declarations to Physicians ("living will") and the Power of Attorney for Health Care.

Declaration to Physicians (living will)

This describes the kind of life-sustaining care you would want only if you were in a terminal condition or were in a persistent vegetative state.  The declaration directs your physician whether to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment or a feeding tube if you develop an illness or injury that cannot be cured and your death is imminent.  A Declaration to Physicians does not give authority to anyone to make health care decisions on your behalf. 

Power of Attorney for Health Care

This appoints an agent to make all health care decisions for you (not just those concerning life-sustaining treatment) if you lose the ability to make health care decisions for yourself.  Your agent can tell the physician or hospital exactly what care you would want. 

Forms and Instructions

Fill Out the Directive
  • Get The Form here.

  • Print out the form.  If you have difficulty printing out the form, please call the Aspirus Information Center at 715-847-2380 or 1-800-847-4707.   

  • Read the forms carefully and follow all the steps.

  • Attach extra pages if there isn't room to write all your wishes.

Sign the Forms
  • Sign and date the forms in front of two witnesses not related to you and not a health care professional that is providing care for you. 

  • If you add pages, sign and date each page.  Write on the form the number of pages you've added.

Make Copies
  • Keep the forms you signed in a place where they can be found easily.  Don't lock them in a safe-deposit box.

  • Give a copy to your agent and alternates, your doctors, and loved ones.  Keep extra copies in case you go to a hospital or nursing home.

  • Mail or Fax a copy to:

Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Health Information Management
333 Pine Ridge Boulevard
Wausau 54401
Fax:  (715) 847-2384

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I have an advance directive?
What if I don't have an advance directive?
When should I prepare an advance directive?
Which document is right for me?
What if I don't know who to name as my agent?
Must I have an advance directive to receive care?
Will I be refused care if I have an advance directive?
What rights do I have about the medical care I receive?
What if I change my mind about my wishes?
Where should I keep my advance directive?
Where is my directive valid?
What is the patient self-determination act?
What if I travel?
What if I move?
What if I change my mind?
What if I make a new directive?

Definition of Terms

A Will
A Living Will
Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney for Health Care
Agent for Power of Attorney for Health Care