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Advance Care Directives

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Advance Care Directives
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Planning Ahead For Your Health Care

What happens if you can’t make health care decisions for yourself? Do your loved ones know how to answer questions about what you’d want for your care? Do you know who would best advocate for you if you cannot speak for yourself?

These conversations can be hard to think about and hard to start. But planning ahead and documenting your wishes will lead to better care and peace of mind. Having your wishes in writing means your loved ones won’t have to guess at important decisions during times of stress.

An important part of this process is creating advance directives. They are documents like:

  • Power of Attorney for Health Care: A document you fill out to name a person to make health care decisions for you if you’re unable to make them for yourself. They are called your “agent.” They can be a spouse, a parent, adult child, sibling or friend. They will communicate with your health care team and let them know what your wishes are.
  • Living Will: This document specifies what you would or would not want in scenarios like a terminal condition or persistent vegetative state. You can decide if you would like life-prolonging treatments or not. This document does not designate a decision maker for your care.

Important Advance Directive Documents

Important Documents (En Español​​)


Filing Documents

Once you have your advance directives filled out, you can file them with GHC-SCW in two ways. Bring a copy to your next appointment or mail it to our Health Information Management Department at:

1265 John Q. Hammons Dr.
Madison, WI 53717-1962​

GHC-SCW Resources:

GHC-SCW is always here to help you with all your advance care planning needs. We have staff members who can help you through the process of having these conversations and documenting your choices.

These conversations and advance directives are free for GHC-SCW members.

Contact your clinic if you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss advance directives. Appointments will happen over the phone or at your clinic, during normal clinic hours.

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Shared Decision Making Tools

Are you thinking about knee replacement surgery? Are you wondering if your child should take ADHD medication? Making health care decisions isn’t always easy, so it’s good to know the facts, ask the right questions and be prepared. 

Shared decision making tools help guide the kind of care you receive from your care team. By combining your medical history and your personal preferences, these tools can help you make the best decision for you. They have information about many topics, like surgery, testing, medication and more. Log in to GHCMyChartSM and access shared decision making tools.

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Community Resources

If you’re unsure where to start, UW Health has free workshops to help you plan and take control of your health decisions. 

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Your Rights

  • You have the right to make decisions about your medical care. 
  • You have the right to accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment. 
  • You have the right to plan and direct the types of health care you may get in the future if you become unable to express your wishes. 
  • You have the right to file a grievance with the DHS Division of Quality Assurance if your advance directive, living will, or power of attorney wishes are not followed. You may request help in filing a grievance.​​​