Advance Directives

Future Care Planning

Advance care planning is one of the best gifts you can give to the people you love, and it starts with a conversation. Advance care planning is a process of understanding, reflecting on and discussing future medical decisions. Eighty-two percent of people say it’s important to put their wishes in writing, yet just 23 percent have actually done it. How to begin advance care planning?

  • Reflect on your values.
  • Choose a health care agent.
  • Explore your goals for treatment.
  • Complete a written advance directive.

Honoring Choices appointments are available at many locations and times. Volunteers will assist you to explore issues and help you create a plan to move forward. To find out more see the list below or go to Classes & Events

For additional information, request your free copy of “Advance Care Planning:  It’s About the Conversation” or a free “Advance Care Planning Kit” by calling the Aspirus Customer Contact Center from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 715-847-2380 or 800-847-4707.

Forms & Instructions

This form was developed by Aspirus in accordance with Wisconsin State Statutes.

Complimentary copies of Michigan advance directive forms are also available from local Aspirus hospitals and clinics.

Free Assistance to Complete Forms

Click below for information about free Honoring Choices appointments to receive help completing an Advance Directive:

Aspirus Locations

  • Aspirus Ironwood Clinic: 906-932-7627
    N10561 Grandview Lane, Ironwood, MI
  • Aspirus Langlade Hospital: 715-623-9790
    112 E. 5th Ave., Antigo, WI
  • Aspirus Medford Hospital: 715-847-2380 or 800-379-7499
    135 South Gibson Street, Medford, WI
  • Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital: 906-884-8232
    601 Seventh Street, Ontonagon, MI
    *Ask for Becky Anderson
  •  Aspirus Doctors Clinic: 715-423-0122
    2031 Peach Street, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
    *Call for an appointment.
  • Aspirus Stevens Point Clinic: 715-847-2380 or 800-847-4707
    5409 Vern Holmes Drive, Stevens Point, WI
  • Aspirus Wausau Hospital: 715-847-2380 or 800-847-4707
    333 Pine Ridge Blvd., Wausau, WI
    (Also Wed. afternoon by appt,)

Other Locations

  • Department on Aging – Oneida County: 715-369-6170 or 800-379-7499
    Rhinelander, WI
  • Mount View Nursing Home: 715-847-2380 or 800-847-4707
    2400 Marshall Street, Wausau, WI
  • Rennes Health & Rehab: 715-847-2380 or 800-847-4707
    4605 Valders Springs, Weston, WI

Assistance is also available by phone by calling the Advance Care Planning Warm Line at 715-843-1340 or toll free at 844-624-4793.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is “advance care planning?"

A process to:

  • Help you understand possible future health choices
  • Help you into consideration your personal values and goals.

When is the best time to start planning?

  • Now
  • When you are healthy
  • Before a crisis – gather information, think about what is best for you and your family.

What is an “advance directive”?

  • The plan you make for future health care
  • Provides your personal instructions
  • Appoints someone(s) who you trust to make decisions for you.

Why should I have an advance directive?

  • Clarifies your wishes
  • Prevents future disagreements among family members.

What if I don't have an advance directive?

If you don't have an advance directive, and you are incapacitated, your decisions may be made by your physician and your surrogate decision-maker, according to Wisconsin law.

What is a “healthcare agent”?

A person you choose to make decisions in case you become incapacitated and cannot communicate for yourself.

What does it mean if I have been named as a “healthcare agent”?

  • You are considered trustworthy by the person who named you.
  • You have been asked to serve an important role.
  • You are expected to make decisions, based on what the person would do if he/she could tell you.

Are there questions to consider if I am asked to be a “healthcare agent”?


  • Are you willing to do this?
  • Do you know what the person would want?

What are examples of health decisions that might need to be made?

  • Tests to be done
  • Medications to be given
  • Whether or not your loved one can be moved to another facility for care.

What are some good questions to discuss with your agent and your family – before a health crisis?

  • What is important to you to “live well”?
  • When might life not be worth living for you?
  • When would you want physicians to stop treatments that keep you alive? How sick would that be?

Is it easy to talk about this?

  • No. Talking about end-of-life is like a “foreign language”
  • Aspirus has people who can help with this.
  • Call the Aspirus Customer Contact Center at 715.847.2380 or 1.800.847.4707 and request a “Thoughtful Thursday” free appointment.

Are there some common phrases often used in these cases? Do they help?

Yes, some phrases are often used, but they only help if the healthcare agent understands what is meant by them. Examples:

  • I want to die with dignity.
  • I want to die a peaceful death.
  • Please do not let the doctor keep me alive “on a machine.”
  • I want/ do not want heroic measures.
  • Just let me die.


  • Find out what your loved ones mean by these statements
  • Write down their responses.

What if I don't know who to name as my agent?

You can still write down the treatments you want/ do not want. Consider a friend, someone from your church, a close neighbor.

Must I have an advance directive to receive care?

No.You can’t be refused medical care or health insurance because you don’t have an advance directive.

Will I be refused care if I have an advance directive?

No. Treatment will not be refused or stopped until your doctors are sure it wouldn’t provide the results you’d want.

Where should I keep my advance directive?

  • Keep your original with your important papers.
  • Make many photocopies and share copies with your agent, all children, your primary care provider, your health system (ask that it be scanned into your medical record).

Where is my advance directive valid?

Your advance directive is valid in Wisconsin. If you spend considerable time in another state, you should also have one prepared in that state.

What if I travel?

Take a copy of your advance directive with you when you travel. Tell someone with you where it is. Many states honor a directive from another state.

What if I move?

It's best to make a new advance directive if you move to a new state. If you live part of the year in another state, do a form for each state.

When should I review my advance directive for possible updates?

Situations change, and preferences might change. Review your advance directive any time of the “Five D’s” occur:

  • Decade
  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • New Diagnosis
  • Decline.

What if I update my advance directive?

If you change or update your advance directive, give a copy to all those who have the initial version and ask them to discard previous version(s). Aspirus is required by law to archive all versions, but your healthcare team will follow the most current one.


Introduction to advance care planning

It's About the Conversation from Wisconsin Medical Society.