The most important choices of your life may come at a time when you are not able to speak for yourself. Three ways to prepare are:
- Advanced Directives: Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney
- Honoring Your Wishes: Advanced care planning
- IPOST: End of life care
What you should know
The state of Iowa has two types of Advanced Directives:
- Living Will: A written statement that tells your doctor if life-aiding methods should be withheld if you have an end-of-life condition. These methods would keep you alive and manage your pain, but would not improve your condition. Two doctors are needed to decide a terminal state. A Living Will takes effect only when you have an end-of-life condition and are not able to make choices yourself.
- Medical Power of Attorney: A written statement that names a person, known as your attorney-in-fact or agent, to make health care choices for you if you are not able. This person should be someone you trust and who agrees to be your agent. Your agent makes choices based on your living will. If your wishes are not known, your agent will make choices in your best interest.
Honoring Your Wishes:
Honoring Your Wishes is an advanced care planning process where your health care choices are discussed, written down, and honored by family, friends and the health care community.
Advance care planning (ACP):
- helps you talk about options and goals that reflect your values and beliefs for future health care decisions.
- gives your family, friends and health care providers the chance to honor your wishes.
The Iowa Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (IPOST) lets you make choices for general scope of treatment and life-aiding treatments including: resuscitation, artificial nutrition and more. IPOST is useful for a person who is frail, elderly, has an end-of-life condition or an ongoing serious medical condition.
In the last stages of illness, health decisions can be difficult for the patient, their family and even the providers. IPOST helps health care providers guide and support the patient and their family during this sensitive time. A completed IPOST creates a clear statement of the patient’s health care treatment choices.
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