Planning for a Medical Emergency

Image of individual filling out an advance care directive

In these times of uncertainty, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to evaluate your wishes if there comes a time when you are unable to speak for yourself. Your healthcare team at Welia Health wants to provide you the best care possible based on your wishes and wants.

Healthcare directives

Welia Health recommends using Honoring Choices documents for a healthcare directive. These documents are recognized in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. If you already have a healthcare directive, now is an excellent time to make sure you review it. If you have any changes, they need to be initialized and dated.

Pay attention to:

  • Your healthcare agent’s contact information (phone and email addresses)
  • Page 9 (Minnesota document) where you can document treatment preferences relating to COVID-19

After reviewing, be sure your healthcare agent, close loved ones, and healthcare provider have an updated copy of your directive.

  • Copies should be printed, but if you are unable to print, use your smart phone to take pictures of or scan the individual pages. Those can either be upload to your MyChart account or emailed to your healthcare agent or close family members.

Also recommended by Welia Health is a Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, a POLST. This is a document that may be used in place of, or in conjunction with, your healthcare directive. A POLST is a more concise document than a directive, although commonly referred to as a directive.

One benefit of using a POLST is that it does not need to be notarized. However, it must be signed by your provider.

Please note any section left incomplete implies full treatment for that section. See document for directions and disclosures.

Your completed POLST can be mailed or dropped off with registration staff at either the Mora or Pine City campus where it will be scanned into your medical chart.

If you do not have a healthcare directive

Find a trusted adult to be your healthcare agent. They will be able to make decisions about your health when you are unable to speak.

If you wish to create a healthcare directive, Welia Health recommends either the Honoring Choices document, a common choice for many folks, or the POLST.

The Honoring Choices document will need to be notarized. It may be difficult to get your newly created healthcare directive notarized at your healthcare facility at this time, so it can be notarized at notery.com (valid for both Minnesota and Wisconsin directives). There is a fee to use this service.

If you decide to use a POLST, it needs to be signed by your provider, but does not need to be notarized.

The Honoring Choices website offers additional resources including a general guide to advance care planning, definitions of common terms, how to choose healthcare agent, and information related to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), help with breathing, Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs), dialysis and artificial hydration and nutrition.

What to do with your documents

Store your healthcare directive, POLST, or both on your refrigerator or by your front door so it is ready to take with you in an emergency. Make sure you also update:

  • Current medications and dosages and any known allergies
  • Health conditions
  • The name of your primary care provider, healthcare facility and phone number
  • Current insurance information and ID number
  • Any other information you deem important

Questions can be directed to Welia Health’s Social Services Department at 320-679-1212.