Advanced Directives

Have you thought about what you would do in a health crisis? Has your family? What about your physician? What happens if you have a health crisis and are unable to communicate to the Health Care Facility how you would want to be treated? Who would make those decisions for you and is that decision the one you would have wanted?

Advanced Directives are vehicles for making End-of-Life Decisions. "Advanced Directive" is a general term that applies to two kinds of legal documents (Living Will, Power of Attorney for Health Care) that permit you to specify, in writing, instructions about future medical care.

"Living Wills" document the types of care you would like to receive or not to receive, if, at the end of life, you cannot speak. For example many documents specify not only the individual's general wishes about death-prolonging interventions, but also specific wishes with regard to artificial respiration, hydration and nutrition; they may also indicate the level of pain medication that is preferred.

"Power of Attorney for Health Care" is a document appointing a spokesperson and decision maker who will act in the event that you are unable to communicate. This person can be almost any adult who is knowledgeable and accepts your wishes, values and religious beliefs. This designated person will respond to any medical situation you may or may not have anticipated or addressed, and make decisions for you.

These documents go into effect in the event that a person becomes unable to speak for him or herself because of a serious illness, your physician feels you are no longer able to make your own health care decisions, or it is determined you are in a terminal condition or in a persistent vegetative state and the use of life-sustaining procedures will only prolong your death. As long as you can make personal decisions on you own behalf, your health care givers will rely on you, not on your Advanced Directives.

Advanced Directives can be obtained at the Chadron Community Hospital & Health Services (Free of charge).

Remember, you are the best person to decide on your health care.

For more information on Advanced Directives please call our Social Workers at (308) 432-0418 or (308) 432-0445.

To download Advanced Directives, visit Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services at