Skip to main content.

Advance Directives

What are advance directives?

An advance directive is written instruction, recognized by state and federal laws, telling others the type of care you would want when you are not able to express your medical wishes.

There are two types of advance directives:

A durable power of attorney for healthcare is a document naming someone you trust to make health decisions if you can’t make them yourself.

A living will tells which treatment you want in the event you have a medical emergency and are either mentally or physically unable to speak for yourself.

Why should you consider making an advance directive?

Advance directives are legal documents allowing you to tell your family, friends and healthcare professionals the kind of healthcare you would want or who you want to make decisions for you if you’re too ill to speak for yourself.

You can use advance directives to give only a few orders about your care or very detailed orders, including the treatments you would accept or refuse to continue life, your wishes regarding organ or tissue donation and the measures to be taken if your heart or breathing stops.

The best time to make an advance directive is before you need one! It is good for anyone of any age to have an advance directive to let others know their medical wishes. You can change or cancel advance directives at any time provided you are capable of making your own decisions. You should review your advance directives periodically to keep them updated.

Important facts about advance directives:

  • You have the right to express your healthcare wishes.
  • You have the right to assign an agent to make healthcare decisions for you.
  • You have the right to allow or refuse healthcare at any time, even after you have signed an advance directive.
  • You are not required to complete an advance directive. It is against the law for anyone to force you to complete one.
  • You cannot be discriminated against because you do not have an advance directive.
  • You cannot be refused care because you do not have an advance directive.
  • Advance directives can be changed at any time, prior to them taking effect. If you make a new advance directive, it cancels out any previous advance directive.

How to get advance directives:

Get an advance directive from your attorney, local Area Agency on Aging, state health department or your healthcare provider by downloading and completing the State of Ohio Advanced Directives form.

After completing your advance directives:

  • Keep the original copies of your advance directives where you can easily find them.
  • Give a copy to your healthcare proxy, healthcare provider(s), hospital, nursing home, family and friends.
  • Carry a card in your wallet indicating you have an advance directive.

What if you think your advance directives were not followed?

If you think SummaCare or its providers, contractors, vendors or business associates are not following the rules for your advance directives, you may file a grievance with SummaCare or you may file a complaint with the state survey and certification agency (Ohio’s is the Department of Health) by calling 800.669.3534 or call the SummaCare Compliance Hotline at 330.996.8821 or 800.361.3908 (TTY 711).