Advance Directives

Social Worker 2Advance directive is a general term that refers to your verbal and written instructions about your medical care in the future, should you be unable to speak for yourself. Each state has its own law governing the use of advance directives. There are two types of advance directives: living will and durable power of attorney for health care.

Living Will

A living will puts your wishes about medical care at the end of life, into a written statement. Each state dictates when a living will goes into effect and can limit the treatments to which the living will applies. A person's right to accept or reject treatment is protected by both federal and state laws.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

A durable power of attorney for health care is a document that allows you to appoint someone you trust to make medical decisions for you. In many states, the person you appoint through a durable power of attorney for health care is authorized to speak for you anytime you are unable to make you own medical decisions, not only at the end of life.

At the Hospital

Adult patients, over 18 years of age, who will be admitted for an overnight stay at UI Hospitals and Clinics can anticipate being asked if they have an advance directive that they wish to let their health care providers know about. If you have an advance directive, you should bring a copy of it with you when you come to the hospital for any overnight stay you may have. As long as you are able to communicate your own decisions, your advance directives will not be used and you can accept or reject any medical treatment.

Though this is a difficult topic to discuss, it is often helpful for you to make plans long before decisions need to be made. Making these arrangements and decisions before you are very ill can insure that your wishes are clear and followed. It also helps family members when they know your wishes in advance.

Forms to establish advance directives from the Iowa State Bar Association:

NOTE: These are legal forms and it is suggested that you consult with your legal representative to complete.

Department of Social Service Resources

Contact Information

Department of Social Service
UI Hospitals and Clinics
200 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, IA 52242