Statement Of Illinois Law On Advance Directives and DNR Orders
Available Adobe PDF Files to Download
- Power of Attorney for Healthcare (English)
- Power of Attorney for Healthcare (Spanish)
- Living Will (English)
- Living Will (Spanish)
- Mental Health Treatment Preference Declaration (English)
- Mental Health Treatment Preference Declaration (Spanish)
- Illinois Law on Advance Directives (English)
- Illinois Law on Advance Directives (Spanish)
- Do-Not-Resuscitate Order (English)
- Do-Not-Resuscitate Order (Spanish)
- Medical Records Release
- Planning Ahead Informative Brochure
If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader,
please click here to download the FREE version.About Advance Directives
You have the right to make decisions about the health care you get now and in the future. An advance directive is a written statement you prepare about how you want your medical decisions to be made in the future, if you are no longer able to make them for yourself. A do not resuscitate order (DNR order) is a medical treatment order that says cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) will not be used if your heart and/or breathing stops.
Federal law requires that you be told of your right to make an advance directive when you are admitted to a health-care facility. Illinois law allows for the following three types of advance directives:
In addition, you can ask your physician to work with you to prepare a DNR order. You may choose to discuss with your health-care professional and/or attorney these different types of advance directives as well as a DNR order. After reviewing information regarding advance directives and a DNR order, you may decide to make more than one. For example, you could make a health care power of attorney and a living will.
If you have one or more advance directives and/or a DNR order, tell your health-care professional and provide them with a copy. You may also want to provide a copy to family members, and you should provide a copy to those you appoint to make these decisions for you.
State law provides copies of sample advance directives forms. These forms are available above.What Happens if You Don't Have an Advance Directive?
Under Illinois law, a health care "surrogate" may be chosen for you if you cannot make health-care decisions for yourself and do not have an advance directive. A health care surrogate will be one of the following persons (in order of priority): guardian of the person, spouse, any adult child(ren), either parent, any adult brother or sister, any adult grandchild(ren), a close friend, or guardian of the estate.
The surrogate can make all health-care decisions for you, with certain exceptions. A health care surrogate cannot tell your health-care professional to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment unless you have a "qualifying condition," which is a terminal condition, permanent unconsciousness, or an incurable or irreversible condition. A "terminal condition" is an incurable or irreversible injury for which there is no reasonable prospect of cure or recovery, death is imminent and life-sustaining treatment will only prolong the dying process. "Permanent unconsciousness" means a condition that, to a high degree of medical certainty, will last permanently, without improvement; there is no thought, purposeful social interaction or sensory awareness present; and providing life-sustaining treatment will only have minimal medical benefit. An "incurable or irreversible condition" means an illness or injury for which there is no reasonable prospect for cure or recovery, that ultimately will cause the patient's death, that imposes severe pain or an inhumane burden on the patient, and for which life-sustaining treatment will have minimal medical benefit.
Two doctors must certify that you cannot make decisions and have a qualifying condition in order to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment. If your health care surrogate decision maker decides to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment, this decision must be witnessed by a person who is 18 years or older. A health care surrogate may consent to a DNR order, however, this consent must be witnessed by two individuals 18 years or older.
A health care surrogate, other than a court-appointed guardian, cannot consent to certain mental health treatments, including treatment by electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), psychotropic medication or admission to a mental health facility. A health care surrogate can petition a court to allow these mental health services.
You should talk with your family, your health-care professional, your attorney, and any agent or attorney-in-fact that you appoint about your decision to make one or more advance directives or a DNR order. If they know what health care you want, they will find it easier to follow your wishes. If you cancel or change an advance directive or a DNR order in the future, remember to tell these same people about the change or cancellation.
No health-care facility, health-care professional or insurer can make you execute an advance directive or DNR order as a condition of providing treatment or insurance. It is entirely your decision. If a health-care facility, health-care professional or insurer objects to following your advance directive or DNR order then they must tell you or the individual responsible for making your health-care decisions. They must continue to provide care until you or your decision maker can transfer you to another health-care provider who will follow your advance directive or DNR order.