Advanced Directives

Advance Directives are written instructions, such as a Living Will or Durable Power of Attorney, that are recognized under Montana law outlining how healthcare will be provided if you are incapacitated and cannot make those decisions for yourself.

A living will allows you to write out your wishes concerning medical treatments at the end-of-life.  A durable power of attorney, or healthcare proxy, allows you to appoint a person you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make your own decisions.

Montana’s POLST program, which stands for Providers Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, is designed to improve the quality of care people receive at the end-of-life.  A standardized POLST form helps assure that a patient’s wishes are communicated to medical providers.  The form summarizes the wishes of an individual regarding life-sustaining treatment and translates the wishes of an individual into actual medical orders. The attending physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant should complete the document with the patient and must sign the form. The POLST form helps translate end-of-life discussions with patients into actual treatment decisions, and provides security for the individual and physician that the expressed wishes will be carried out.

Five Wishes is a living will written in everyday language. It helps start conversations about your care if you have a serious illness. It lets your family and doctors know who you want to make healthcare decisions if you cannot make them and the kinds of medical treatment you want.