Advanced Directives

Any time you present to a hospital registration area or become a patient, Iowa law requires we ask every patient age 18 and over whether or not they have an advance directive. Advance Directives are legal documents that make your medical wishes known, in the event that you are unable to do so yourself.

Iowa law provides two types of advance directives:  Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney.  See your attorney if you are interested in setting up one or both of these documents.  Information and tools are also available at our Health Information Department or you may download and complete the form.

Living Will

A Living Will is a document directing your healthcare provider that certain life-sustaining procedures should be withheld if you have a terminal condition or unable to decide for yourself. This allows you to state your wishes in writing.


Another form of Living Will is an IPOST form- Please make an appointment with you Primary Care Provider to complete an IPOST. Additional information a copy of this form can be found at

Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to name anyone at least 18 years of age to make healthcare decisions for your in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. This person is required to make decisions according to the directions you may have provided in the durable power document or living will. It goes into effect only when you are not able to make decisions for yourself. 

What if I already have a Living Will or Durable Power of Attorney?

If you already have these documents, it is strongly encouraged that you send a copy to GMHC to keep on file with your medical records.  This ensures they are available in the event of an emergency and your medical wishes are known to hospital staff. This form is also required if your Durable Power of Attorney is requesting medical records.

What to do once the form is completed? 

Keep the original in your possession. 

Send a copy to: 

  • Your Power of Attorney designee
  • GMHC Medical Records Department:
  • Healthcare Providers outside of GMHC
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