Intermountain Healthcare is working to encourage patients, their families, employees, and trustees to complete Advance Directive documents. Advance Directives specify the kind of healthcare patients desire in the event they are unable to express their wishes.

The goal. This 2011 system-wide Board Goal is to have an Advance Directive in place in the electronic medical record for 25 percent of our patients by the end of 2012. That goal also includes a special emphasis on palliative care programs.

While this initiative focuses on increasing the number of Advance Directives received from patients, it also encourages Intermountain and SelectHealth employees and trustees to complete and submit a copy to Intermountain for their own medical records.

What is an Advance Directive? An Advance Directive provides a simple way for patients to let their family, friends, and physicians know their healthcare choices, including any types of special treatment they want, at the end of their life. It also allows patients to appoint a person to help make decisions on their behalf if they can't make decisions for themselves.

You can obtain a copy of the form online: Utah Advance Health Care Directive form.

Here's how you can submit Advance Directive forms:

  • Bring the form to our Health Information Management/Medical Records department at any Intermountain hospital.
  • Mail a copy to: Intermountain Healthcare, P.O. Box 70539, Salt Lake City, UT 84170.
  • Email a copy (with the Advance Directive document as an attachment) to: Advance.Directive@imail.org
  • Fax: Attention: Advance Directive, 801-442-0484.

Why completing an Advance Directive is important

A Message from Nancy Nowak, RN
CNO and Vice President, Clinical Operations

Advance Directives help care providers know and honor your choices. Completing an Advance Directive is all about expressing your choices. An Advance Directive isn't about withholding treatment or care. One person may want full treatment under any circumstance; another may want to limit treatment in specific ways. An Advance Directive can accommodate all types of patient wishes.

Advance Directives help your loved ones during a difficult time. Advance Directives assist those closest to you, along with your healthcare providers, by helping them respond in ways that are consistent with your values and desires. By completing a simple document, you can provide peace of mind to your family and friends who can ensure your wishes are carried out.

Advance Directives help you be prepared. We sometimes think of advance care planning as a topic that only applies to the elderly or those with a serious illness. However, Intermountain Healthcare encourages anyone over the age of 18 to have an Advance Directive. Completing an Advance Directive isn't an indication that you anticipate anything going wrong with your health. Think of an Advance Directive as another way to prepare for the unexpected, just like we do in other aspects of our lives: We have savings accounts, buy insurance, participate in fire drills, and assemble 72-hour kits for our homes. If a patient provides Intermountain with an Advance Directive now, we'll store it in our electronic record so it's available at any of our Intermountain hospitals or clinics. If it's needed at some future time — in a year, five years, or 20 years — it's available.

Don't have an Advance Directive yet?

Completing one is easy. Perhaps you've considered completing an Advance Directive in the past but were discouraged about its possibly being a long, drawn-out process. Fortunately, the process has been simplified due to changes in Utah state law. You'll no longer have to fill out multiple documents or have any of them notarized. Utah has simplified the process to one form that can be completed relatively quickly. Again, you obtain an Advance Directive form online, at: Utah Advance Health Care Directive form.

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