What are Advance Directives?

Advance directives are legal, written instructions that provide your preferences for life-sustaining medical care if you are ever unable to make decisions for yourself due to serious injury, illness, or coma.

Unexpected end-of-life situations can happen at any age, so it’s important for all adults to prepare these documents.

Advance Directive Forms

Please let us know if you have any of the following advance directive orders:

  • A Power of Attorney for Health Care permits you, the patient, to designate an "agent" to make healthcare decisions on your behalf when you are unable to.
  • A Living Will allows you to indicate whether you want death-delaying procedures used if you have a terminal illness. A terminal illness is an incurable and irreversible condition in which death is imminent.
  • A Practitioner Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) allows your physician to write an order stating what death-delaying treatments (like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)) you wish to have, if any, if your heart and/or breathing stops.

Your healthcare provider is an excellent resource when completing these documents – he or she can answer many questions you may have. We will keep a copy of these important documents in your records.

If you need help completing these forms or have questions about Advance Directives in general, please contact your healthcare provider’s office or FHN’s Advance Directive Hotline at (815) 599-7080.


Listen to Dr. Pedersen, FHN Family Physician and Chief Quality Officer, talk about Advance Directives on the Dial-a-Doc radio program.

Listen to Dr. Martin, former FHN Chief Medical Officer, talk about Advance Directives on the Talk of the Town radio program.


Power of Attorney for Healthcare
Statement of Illinois Law on Advance Directives
Practitioner Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Form
Frequently Asked Questions about Advance Directives
Health Information Authorization Form

en español
Poder para la Atención de la Salud
Formulario Uniforme De Órdenes Médicas Para Tratamiento De Soporte Vital (POLST)
Preguntas frecuentes sobre directivas anticipadas
Formulario de autorización de información médica

(If you need a form for a different state, search that state’s government site – indicated by .gov after the name of the state in the URL – for the name of the document, such as “healthcare power of attorney.”)