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Advanced Directives

Advanced Directives

Health care decisions have grown in complexity with the advances of medical technology.  Some people wish to extend life with every means available.  Others do not.  People are encouraged to write their choices down prior to getting sick.  These are called Advanced Directives. Couple carrying a shopping basket

Advance directives are documents signed by a competent person giving direction to health care providers about treatment choices you want when you are unable to communicate clearly with your doctor.  There are two types of advance directives.  A durable power of attorney for health care is one that allows you to name a person to speak in your place.  A living will is one that lets you indicate your wishes in writing.  

When you are admitted to the hospital you will be asked if you have an advanced directive.  If a copy is on file, we will ask you if this is still consistent with your desires.  If a copy is not on file, you will be asked to bring a copy to FMCH to place in your record. 

FMCH promotes the use of the Five Wishes form which provides people with an easy to understand way to document their wishes and provide a helpful guide to family members, caregivers and doctors. In addition to the Five Wishes form, all other types of Advance Directives are accepted and stored at FMCH.

Completing an Advance Directive is an important activity that should not be overlooked. Too often family members are faced with the difficult situation of having to decide what their loved one would want for end-of-life care. Make these important decisions for yourself and make the time of your death an easier one for your family.

To obtain a complimentary copy of the Five Wishes document or to request a speaker to present on this topic, email us at or submit a written request to: Fort Madison Community Hospital, Attn: Community Relations, 5445 Avenue O, Fort Madison, IA 52627.

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