Advance Care Planning - Frequently Asked Questions

When will my advance directive be used?

  • The advance directive will only be enacted after two physicians examine you and determine that you are unable to participate in your healthcare decisions for your advance directive to be enacted.

Who can benefit?

  • You ensure that you get the types of medical care you desire- whether it is the most aggressive care possible or comfort care only
  • Your loved ones; family, friends- it protects family and friends from stress anxiety when they are forced to make life or death decisions on behalf of their loved ones because our wishes are clearly communicated and documented and it removes the element of uncertainty. It can prevent heated disagreements in very emotional times.
  • Community, physicians

How do you benefit?

  • Your wishes/needs met, family members feel confident in making decision-not burdened with guessing, community hears about it and does it as well, physicians know that they are accommodating your needs/wants

Why do you need it?

  • Plan for your future so loved ones don’t have to
  • Be in charge of your health
  • Ensure your wishes will be carried out
  • Removes burden from loved ones

What happens without it?

  • Delay in receiving desired care, unnecessary/unwanted measures, family members worrying that they are making the wrong decision, expense incurred unnecessarily

What happens when you participate in advance care planning?

  • Maximize the likelihood that your medical care serves your goals for living well
  • Minimize the likelihood of over-treatment or under-treatment
  • Reduce the likelihood of conflicts between family members, close friends, and health care providers
  • Minimize the burden of decision making on family members or close friends

What is an advance directive?

  • A legal written document in which you specify what types of medical care you would want in the future- including decisions about life support, mental health treatment and organ and tissue donation, as well as who you want to make decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

What is the difference between life sustaining, life enhancing and life supporting?

Is this valid in other states?

  • Not necessarily. While Michigan has very stringent legal requirements and the wishes documented in your advance directive may be upheld, each state has their own legal requirements for their advance directive forms. It is suggested that if you frequently travel to a specific state, you should verify their requirements.

Who should have a copy of my advance directive?

  • Your primary care provider (such as your family doctor)
  • Any family members who may need to know how to contact your advocate in the event of an emergency
  • The individuals that you have chosen to be your successor advocate(s)
  • Your closest hospital (wherever you would go for emergencies)
  • Other medical facilities (such as hospitals or nursing homes) where you frequently receive treatment, or upon being admitted for a major procedure, such as surgery

Where can I get Advance Care Directive Form and Workbook?

Where can I get help or learn more?

What are the types of decisions that my advocate would be asked to make for me?

  • Signing for release of your medical records and personal files
  • Applying for Medicare, Medicaid, or other programs of insurance benefit for you
  • Arranging for your admission to a hospital, hospice, or nursing home
  • Giving consent or refusing medical services for you such as tests and surgery
  • Making the decision to request, take away, or not give medical treatments, including tube feeding, hydration, or any other treatments being used to prolong your death, based on your values or wishes

Advance Care Planning Help

Need help with completing your Advance Care Planning documents and Designating a Patient Advocate? We can help answer all your questions.

Photo of Kelly Shaheen, Advanced Care Planning Educator at MidMichigan Health.Kelly Perry
Advanced Care Planning Educator
(989) 633-1402

Photo of Amy Bailey-Sheets, L.M.S.W. in Advanced Care Planning at MidMichigan Health.Amy Bailey-Sheets, L.M.S.W.
Advanced Care Planning Specialist
(989) 839-3167