Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (CRMC) can assist you in finding resources to create a legal document called an advance directive, through which you can provide specific direction to your physician, healthcare facility and loved ones about the healthcare you want to receive should you become unable to communicate your wishes yourself.
Within your advance directive document, you can also appoint an agent or surrogate to make healthcare decisions for you if you become seriously ill and are unable to communicate your wishes for care.
What to consider
Though artificial respiration, nutrition and hydration have the ability to sustain or extend your life, you may not want to spend months or years dependent on life support machines, or cause unnecessary emotional or financial distress for your loved ones.
Making preparations for an advance directive should be done while you’re still healthy and capable of making informed, rational decisions.
Prior to considering whether and/or what type of advance directive you want to execute, we encourage you to do two things:
- Plan ahead
- Communicate openly with your family, loved ones, clergy and attorney
Planning ahead ensures that your advance directive accurately reflects your wishes.
Take the time to consult family, loved ones and clergy to make sure you’ve considered all the emotional and spiritual factors that may be part of your decision-making process. Open communication and involvement often decreases the chances of potential misunderstandings and conflict around your advance directive with family members and loved ones.
Prior to executing your advance directive, discuss its legal implications and effects with your attorney.
Your attorney will guide you through the different types of directives and ensure yours fits your particular circumstances and accurately reflects your wishes. They’ll also ensure your advance directive is properly drafted and executed as a legally valid and binding document.
At all times that you are competent, you retain the right to determine the healthcare you receive.
The agent you appoint to act on your behalf in a power of attorney for healthcare can never override your power to make decisions for yourself as long as you are able and willing to do so.
You may also revoke a power of attorney for healthcare at any time you are competent to do so.
Advance directive booklets and forms
For additional guidance and information on advance directives, we’ve shared some helpful resources below.
The Wyoming Health Care Decisions Act includes a form you can use to create an advance directive. To access this form, click here.
It’s About How You LIVE, a national campaign that encourages individuals to make informed decisions about end-of-life care and services, is a wonderful source of information about advance directives, including an example form. Click here to access the campaign booklet in English, or click here to access the booklet in Spanish.
Note: An advance directive is not a substitute for legal advice. Changes in the underlying law can affect how the form will operate in the event you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. If you have any questions about how the form will help ensure your wishes are carried out, or if your wishes do not seem to fit with the form, you may wish to talk to your healthcare provider and an attorney with experience in drafting advance directives.