Horizon Planning Banner Web

Horizon Planning

Discussing Your Wishes with Others

With whom should I discuss my instructions before I write them down?

Before you write your instructions down, you may wish to discuss them with your doctor, member of your family, friends or other appropriate persons, such as a member of the clergy. If you are writing a durable power of attorney for health care, you should also discuss your wishes with the person you are naming as your attorney-in-fact. Similarly, if you are writing a living will and naming someone in that document to carry out your wishes, you should discuss your wishes with that person.

To whom should I give my written instructions?

You should give your written instructions to your family doctor and, if applicable, to your hospital, nursing home or other health care provider. You may also want to give a copy to your family or anyone else involved in your health care decision-making process, and you should also keep a copy for your own records.

What if I don't leave instructions or name a person who will make a decision for me?

If you become unable to express your wishes about your medical care or treatment and do not leave instructions regarding your wishes or name a person who will make decisions for you, a health care provider may ask your family or the courts to make decisions about your care and treatment.

What if I have expressed my wishes orally about treatment, but have not put my wishes in writing?

Oral directions which you have given to your physician or your family will sometimes be followed by health care providers, depending on how detailed and recent those instructions were. Thus, you may wish to tell your personal physician and your family your wishes about future treatment, even if you choose not to sign some sort of advance directive.

Do I have to write a living will or durable power of attorney for health care?

No. It's your decision. Under the law, a health care provider may not determine the type of care needed for you, or otherwise discriminate against you, on the basis of whether you have written such a document. Moreover, under Pennsylvania law, no health care provider or insurer may charge a different fee or rate depending on whether you have executed a living will.

Are living wills and durable powers of attorney which were written in other states recognized in Pennsylvania?

The law in Pennsylvania is unclear. It is possible, however, that at the very least your doctor, hospital or a judge may use such documents to determine who will make decisions about your care and what those decisions will be.

Who should I contact if I have more questions about living wills or durable powers of attorney for health care?

In addition to a lawyer, there are many individuals and groups that can provide you with information about such documents. Here are some that you may wish to consult:

Your local long term care ombudsman, who can be reached by calling your community's Area Agency on Aging. The telephone number is in the blue pages of your telephone book.

Office of the State Long Term Care Ombudsman
PA Department of Aging
400 Market St., 7th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101-2301
(717) 783-7274

Pennsylvania Council on Aging
400 Market St., 6th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101-2301
(717) 783-1924

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
224 Market St.
Harrisburg, PA 17101
(717) 238-2277

Aging With Dignity
P.O. Box 1661
Tallahassee, FL 32302-1661
(850) 681-2010
e-mail: fivewishes@aol.com

Gift of Life Donor Program
2000 Hamilton St., Suite 201
Philadelphia, PA 19130-3831
1-800-KIDNEY1 (543-6391)
1-800-DONORS1 (366-6771) 

Related links:


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.


Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.