Frequently Asked Questions

Advance Care Planning

  • What is advance care planning?
  • Advance care planning is thinking about your hopes for care at the end of your life’s journey and talking about them with persons close to you. It’s a way to help your loved ones make the care decisions you would have made should you no longer be able to speak for yourself.
  • What is a Power of Attorney for Health Care Form?
  • It is a legal form that allows you to name someone as your health care agent to make medical decisions for you if you are no longer able to. This form is typically completed after an advance care planning discussion and should be reviewed regularly and updated as necessary. View a sample form here.
  • How will my agent know what care decisions to make?
  • They will know what decisions because of the ongoing conversations they have had with you. Your doctor will also be able to tell your agent about your condition and the risks and benefits of certain treatments. Your agent can speak to an ethical or spiritual advisor if they have questions about the care decisions they believe you would have wanted.
  • What is the difference between a Living Will and a Power of Attorney for Health Care?
  • A Living Will only allows you to write directions about life-sustaining treatments for when you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious. It does allow you to name a person to make care decisions for you in other situations, if you are not able to speak for yourself.
  • Do I need both a Living Will and a Power of Attorney for Health Care document?
  • No. If you have a Power of Attorney for Health Care document with a person named who you have discussed future care decisions, including directions about life-sustaining treatment, you do not need to complete a Living Will.
  • If I have a Power of Attorney for Health Care form, does that mean they will not try to resuscitate me if my heart stops or I stop breathing?
  • No, this would not be true. A Power of Attorney for Health Care is not the same as having a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) order.
  • What happens if I can't make my own health care decisions and do not have a Power of Attorney for Health Care Agent?
  • State law would be used to identify a surrogate (decision maker) for you. This person may or may not know what kind of care you want at end of life and what decisions you would want to make.

OSF Care Decisions

  • What is OSF Care Decisions?
  • It is a service provided by OSF to help patients plan for their care in the future (called advance care planning), and complete a Power of Attorney for Health Care form. OSF wants to provide you with the kind of care you hope for at the end of your life's journey.
  • What qualifies a person to be an OSF Care Decisions facilitator?
  • The OSF Care Decisions facilitator is formally trained in advance care planning through coursework, lecture by experts, and return demonstration practice.
  • What should I expect from this service?
  • The service provides trained OSF advance care planning facilitators to meet with patients and their family member(s) to encourage patients to reflect on their values and beliefs and then describe the care decisions they would make in various situations.
  • What do I do after the advance care planning discussion?
  • It is important to share what was discussed with your family members and health care providers. You should also give a copy of the discussion record and form to anyone who may be involved in your future care.
  • How do I use the record and form when they are complete?
  • You should bring a copy to your health care providers. The forms would be used only in the event you would become unable to speak for yourself. If you are a patient of OSF HealthCare, these documents may already be in your electronic medical record. Make sure to ask your physician to confirm that these are on file in your record.
  • How can I arrange for an OSF Care Decisions discussion?
  • If you are a patient of OSF HealthCare, tell your doctor or nurse that you would like this service. Or, contact OSF Supportive Care. If you are not currently an OSF HealthCare patient, please contact your doctor or hospital to see if they offer this service.