The Importance of a Health Care Directive

With April 16th being Health Care Decisions Day, we wanted to review an important part of planning ahead for you and your loved ones: a health care directive. A health care directive, also known as an advance directive, is a legal document that helps direct your doctors and medical providers whenever you are in need of health care, but are unable to communicate your wishes or preferences.  A health care directive allows you to provide instructions for your care and treatment and appoint someone to help make health care decisions for you.

No one is required to have a health care directive, but completing one is a good idea for adults of any age.  Not only does it help make sure your health care wishes are followed, but it also helps your loved ones understand the type of care and treatment you would want in certain situations.

If you are considering completing a health care directive, it is important for you to take time to understand your goals and preferences related to your health care.  Consider having a conversation with your physician and discussing your personal health status and future health care needs. If you have appointed one or more people to make decisions for you when you are not able, it is important for you to have a conversation with those individuals to make sure they feel comfortable with that role and understand your wishes. 

Windom Area Health provides health care directive forms free of charge to anyone interested.  Health care directives are also available online at  If you would like to learn more about health care directives, please contact Social Services at 507-831-0687.

By Karen Denzer, LSW

COVID-19 UPDATES 4/13: Individuals seeking COVID tests for symptoms or travel, should work through their primary care provider. Learn More
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