Advance Care Planning
Advance care planning (ACP) is the process of making decisions about your future medical needs in the event you are unable to speak for yourself. These decisions are officially documented through forms known as advance directives, which should be shared with your loved ones and healthcare providers.
Trained facilitators at Ringgold County Hospital and Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic can help you plan and prepare your advance directives for medical care. By making your plans now, you will have peace-of-mind knowing your family and medical providers will follow your wishes, no matter what the future holds.
Advance care planning should include the completion of advance directive documents. These documents include:
Living Will – This legal document defines the types of medical treatment you do or do not want. It can cover a wide range of topics from preferences on pain relief and life-support treatment to whether you want your hand held or bedside prayers.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPOAH) – This document legally designates an individual to speak on your behalf if you are unable to communicate. This is commonly referred to as your healthcare agent. Through this form, you can also choose to limit the kind of decisions your healthcare agent can make. If no one is selected at the time of a medical emergency, the responsibility will be delegated to next of kin in order of priority, such as a spouse or adult child.
Iowa Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (IPOST) – This is a medical order signed by your healthcare provider clearly defining your preferences for life-sustaining treatments, such as artificially administered nutrition, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and machine-assisted breathing. This document should supplement an advance directive and is most appropriate for those who have a critical illness, are older adults or frail, or in the last stages of illness.
Once you have made the decision to execute advance directives, you will want to complete the legally binding forms. There are a few options:
- We recommend completing the comprehensive Five Wishes document. You may ask your healthcare team if they have them available, or visit https://www.fivewishes.org/for-myself/
- You can download the power of attorney and living will forms using the buttons above or visit the Iowa State Bar Association website. You can also write to request forms at: Iowa Bar Association, 625 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50309.
- Ask your healthcare team if an IPOST is appropriate for you. If so, work with your healthcare team to complete it.
Our ACP facilitators at Ringgold County Hospital and Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic are available to explain the process, answer your questions, properly notarize your signature, and make sure a copy of your advance directives is placed in your chart.
Five Wishes is a comprehensive advance directive which has both components of a living will and names your healthcare agent. It states personal, emotional, and spiritual needs as well as medical wishes. The Five Wishes include:
- The person I want to make care decisions for me when I can’t
- The kind of medical treatment I want or don’t want
- How comfortable I want to be
- How I want people to treat me
- What I want my loved ones to know
We can help you create a living will through this nationally recognized, user-friendly program, available through community programming.
This project is supported by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) under grant number D0440232, Rural Patient Outreach through Advance Care Planning, for $798,653. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.