Advance Directives for Patients 18 & Older
Every person has the right to make his or her own decisions about health care. An advance directive is a document that helps ensure the care you receive is in line with your values and wishes, even if you aren’t available to communicate them at the time.
Advance directives aren't just for older adults. Unexpected end-of-life situations can happen at any age, so it's important for ALL adults to have advance directives. Springfield Clinic encourages all patients age 18 and older to have an advance directive, regardless of their health.
What does an advance directive form say?
Depending on the form you use, an advance directive allows you to do one or both of the following:
- Name the person you want to make health care decisions for you if you can’t speak for yourself. This person is called your “health care agent.”
- Choose the kind of care and treatment you want provided or withheld in certain situations. If illness or injury should prevent you from making or communicating decisions for yourself, the directive can guide your medical care and help make sure your wishes are honored.
You can change your mind about your health care agent or preferences at any time. Keep in mind you can record your wishes for any level of care— not just wishes to withhold care. Your directive will only be used if you can’t speak for yourself.
Why would I want to complete an advance directive at this stage in my life?
Remember, Springfield Clinic offers ALL adult patients a chance to complete an advance directive. It doesn’t depend on your current health, and it doesn’t mean that your doctors expect your health to worsen. If you choose to complete an advance directive, Springfield Clinic will store a copy in your electronic health record (EHR). If needed, it can be used in the future—in one year or thirty years from now.
If your wishes change, you can complete a new form and provide it to Springfield Clinic. Only the most recent directive will be used.