Advance Care Planning

Advance care planning involves an open discussion with your family and healthcare providers about your wishes should your health ever decline and you are unable to make your own decisions. It identifies what’s important to you, communicating those wishes to your loved ones and, often, completing advance directives. 

Considering your end-of-life wishes can feel overwhelming. We often hear, "I've always been healthy," or "My family knows my wishes." Even if it is hard to talk about, it is best to have the conversation and make these decisions early.

Our team is dedicated to making sure your wishes are established, known by your family and providers, and followed through if a crisis occurs.

What is Advance Care Planning?

If you were in a car accident or became suddenly ill and unable to speak:

  • Do those close to you know your religious and spiritual beliefs?
  • Would your family and doctors know how you want decisions made about your care?
  • How will the people care for you know how to treat you?

Advance Care Planning is the process of considering, discussing, and documenting your preferences in regards to future health care treatment. 

At any age, a healthcare crisis could leave you too ill to make your own healthcare decisions. Even if you are not sick now, planning for healthcare in the future is an important step toward making sure that you get the medical care that you would want.

What are advance directives?

An advance directive is a set of legal documents that outline your wishes for healthcare if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Key documents include:

Code Status

Code status refers to what type of treatment you would want if you went into cardiopulmonary arrest- the sudden loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness.

  • Full Code Status: means that you would want all the medical procedures to be utilized in attempt to restart a heartbeat and/or breathing. This may include cardiopulmonary (CPR) which involves chest compressions, electrical shocks to the heart and the insertion of a breathing tube to breathe for you.
  • Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Status: means that you would not want any type of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if you stopped breathing or your heart stopped beating. DNR means you would instead prefer to die naturally.
  • Do Not Intubate (DNI) Status: means that, during a cardiopulmonary arrest, you would want cardiac attempts at resuscitation, such as chest compressions and shocks to the heart, but you would not want a breathing tube inserted to breathe for you.

Starting the conversation with your family

Engaging your family is an important step in the advance care planning process. It is important that your family understands your wishes. If you are unable to make decisions for yourself, your loved ones will be responsible for speaking on your behalf. Remember, these are your wishes. You should be open, honest and clear when talking with loved ones.

If you are a patient at Memorial Medical Center and are interested in advance care planning services, contact the Advanced Care Management office at (217) 788-3360.

Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care focuses on the physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs of patients who have chronic, debilitating or life-limiting illness. Its goal is ensuring the patient has the best quality of life as possible. If you or a loved one meets the following criteria, you may consider talking with your physician about palliative care:

  • Experiencing pain or other symptoms
  • Frequent hospitalizations
  • Decreased functional status
  • Decreased quality-of-life

Starting the Conversation with your Doctor
Talking about serious illness isn’t easy. If you have been diagnosed with a serious illness, you may assume that your doctor will start a conversation about the progression of your disease, your future prognosis, and options for treatment.

However, your doctor may be waiting for you to ask the right questions. This sometime means that these crucial conversations are delayed until a moment of crisis. Rather than waiting until a crisis unfolds, start the conversation with your doctor now.

Palliative Care at Memorial Medical Center
Palliative care service are available to patients admitted to Memorial Medical Center. To speak with a Palliative Care team member, contact the Advanced Care Management office at (217) 788-3360.

Social Services

What are Social Services?
Social Workers, as part of the healthcare team, provide assessment and appropriate intervention to aid our patients in achieving optimum recovery and quality of life.

Social Services at Memorial Medical Center
All Memorial Medical Center Social Workers are Master’s prepared and licensed to work in the State of Illinois. To speak with a Memorial Medical Center social worker, contact the Advanced Care Management office at (217) 788-3360.

End-of-Life Services

What are End-of-Life Services?
As you near the end of your life, hospice care may be right for you. Hospice care is a specialized type of care for a person who is in the end states of their life. Hospice focuses on managing a person’s pain and other symptoms, so that they can live as comfortably as possible, and have the best quality of life possible, with the time that remains.

End-of-Life Services at Memorial Medical Center
The Memorial Advanced Care Management Team is here to help you transition from the hospital to hospice care. We know that this can be an emotional and overwhelming time. Our goal is to support you and your family in order to honor your wishes. We believe that by helping you understand the transition process and the services that will be provided to you, we can provide some peace of mind. To speak with a Hospice Liaison, contact your call the Advanced Care Management office at (217) 788-3360.

Memorial Home Hospice
You do not have to be in the hospital to receive quality hospice care. Memorial Health System offers hospice services through Memorial Home Hospice. If you are interested in receiving hospice information, call Memorial Home Hospice at (217) 788-4663 or speak with your primary care provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Advance Care Planning?
Advance Care Planning is the process of considering, discussing, and documenting your preferences in regards to future health care treatment.

What is an Advance Directive?
An Advance Directive is a set of legal documents that outline your wishes for healthcare. Key documents include Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Living Will, and Mental Health Treatment Declaration.

What is the difference between Living Will and Power of Attorney for Healthcare?
A Living Will is a written document to inform your healthcare providers and loved ones what type of medical care you want to receive if you are terminally ill or unconscious.

A Power of Attorney for Healthcare is a written document to appoint an individual to make medical decisions in the event you are unable to make them yourself.

Can I still make my own decisions once I fill out an Advance Directives?
Yes. Only when you are unable to make decisions for yourself will your healthcare proxy step forward to make decisions on your behalf.

When should I update my Advance Directive?
Your Advance Directives should be reviewed at least annually. In addition, they should be reviewed and updated with any change in condition, change in healthcare wishes, or change in healthcare proxy.

What if I don’t fill out an Advance Directive?
Your loved ones will not know your wishes and may become confused, scared, or even angry through the process. You may also receive treatment that is not in line with your healthcare wishes.


Contact Us

For more information on any Advanced Care Management services, please call (217) 788-3360.