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A health care directive is a legal document that explains your wishes and beliefs related to end-of-life care.

Wisconsin and Minnesota laws allow you to state your health care wishes and appoint a health care power of attorney in a legal document if you cannot make your own health care decisions.* Completing this allows you to understand, reflect, discuss and plan your wishes and beliefs related to end-of-life care.

What topics should be included?

Before starting, consider discussing your options and wishes with family members, friends, clergy or a spiritual advisor. You may also wish to discuss your health conditions with your health care provider and how you would respond to certain treatments and life-sustaining measures, such as CPR or being on a ventilator.

Other topics to consider include:

  • instructions about artificial nutrition and hydration, as well as any life-sustaining treatments.
  • where you want to receive care.
  • your wishes about organ and tissue donation.

How do I complete my document?

Forms are available from the resources listed at the bottom of this page. Your health care directive must meet the following requirements to be legal.

The document must:

  • be in writing and dated.
  • state your name and date of birth.
  • be completed by someone 18 years of age and of sound mind and know what they are completing.
  • include health care instructions, a designated health care power of attorney or both.
  • have two witnesses** (a Minnesota health care directive requires two witnesses and/or a notary) to make the document legal.*

What should I do after it is signed?

It is recommended that you give a copy of your health care directive to:

  • your primary care clinic and hospital you will most likely receive care at.
  • everyone you have appointed as your health care power of attorney.
  • anyone else who may be involved in your health care and would benefit from having your directive.
  • other hospitals or specialists that you may receive care at.

It is important to discuss your completed document with your health care power of attorney to ensure their ability to understand and fulfill your wishes or requests.

Advance Directive Forms:

Wisconsin State Health Care Directives forms
Wisconsin Honoring Choices Directive
Minnesota Health Care Directives forms

For More Information For more information or help with advance directives, contact OMC's Social Services Department directly at 715-294-5705.

*The information provided does not give every detail to each state law but rather an overview of what health care directives are. For more specific details, see resources listed above.

**Legal witnesses cannot be related to you by blood, marriage, domestic partnership or adoption. They must be 18 years of age. The witnesses cannot be the health care agents you appointed. They cannot be directly financially responsible for your health care. The witnesses cannot be any health care providers or employees of a health care facility directly serving you unless it is a social worker or a chaplain. The witnesses must watch you sign the document and they need to sign the same date you do.

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