In this chapter:
“Advanced practice clinician” means any of the following:
A registered nurse under ch. 441
who is currently certified as a nurse practitioner by a national certifying body approved by the board of nursing.
A physician assistant licensed under ch. 448
who a physician responsible for overseeing the physician assistant's practice affirms is competent to conduct evaluations of the capacity of patients to manage health care decisions.
“Department" means the department of health services.
“Feeding tube" means a medical tube through which nutrition or hydration is administered into the vein, stomach, nose, mouth or other body opening of a declarant.
“Health care" means any care, treatment, service or procedure to maintain, diagnose or treat an individual's physical or mental condition.
“Health care agent" means an individual designated by a principal to make health care decisions on behalf of the principal or, if that individual is unable or unwilling to make those decisions, an alternate individual designated by the principal to do so.
“Health care decision" means an informed decision in the exercise of the right to accept, maintain, discontinue or refuse health care.
“Health care facility" means a facility, as defined in s. 647.01 (4)
, or any hospital, nursing home, community-based residential facility, county home, county infirmary, county hospital, county mental health center or other place licensed or approved by the department under s. 49.70
or a facility under s. 45.50
“Health care provider" means a nurse licensed or permitted under ch. 441
, a chiropractor licensed under ch. 446
, a dentist licensed under ch. 447
, a physician, physician assistant, perfusionist, podiatrist, physical therapist, physical therapist assistant, occupational therapist, or occupational therapy assistant licensed under ch. 448
, a person practicing Christian Science treatment, an optometrist licensed under ch. 449
, a psychologist licensed under ch. 455
, a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant who holds a compact privilege under subch. IX of ch. 448
, a partnership thereof, a corporation or limited liability company thereof that provides health care services, a cooperative health care association organized under s. 185.981
that directly provides services through salaried employees in its own facility, or a home health agency, as defined in s. 50.49 (1) (a)
“Incapacity" means the inability to receive and evaluate information effectively or to communicate decisions to such an extent that the individual lacks the capacity to manage his or her health care decisions.
“Multipurpose senior center" means a facility that is the focal point for the delivery of services in a community to individuals aged 60 or older for purposes of the state plan under 42 USC 3027
“Power of attorney for health care" means the designation, by an individual, of another as his or her health care agent for the purpose of making health care decisions on his or her behalf if the individual cannot, due to incapacity.
“Principal" means an individual who executes a power of attorney for health care.
“Relative" means an individual related by blood within the 3rd degree of kinship as computed under s. 990.001 (16)
; a spouse, domestic partner under ch. 770
, or an individual related to a spouse or domestic partner within the 3rd degree as so computed; and includes an individual in an adoptive relationship within the 3rd degree.
History: 1989 a. 200
; 1991 a. 281
; 1993 a. 27
; 1995 a. 27
, 9126 (19)
; 1997 a. 35
; 1999 a. 9
; 2001 a. 70
; 2005 a. 22
; 2007 a. 20
s. 9121 (6) (a)
; 2009 a. 28
; 2019 a. 90
Power of attorney for health care. 155.05(1)(1)
An individual who is of sound mind and has attained age 18 may voluntarily execute a power of attorney for health care. An individual for whom an adjudication of incompetence and appointment of a guardian of the person is in effect in this state is presumed not to be of sound mind for purposes of this subsection executing a power of attorney for health care.
Unless otherwise specified in the power of attorney for health care instrument, an individual's power of attorney for health care takes effect upon a finding of incapacity by 2 physicians, as defined in s. 448.01 (5)
, or one physician and one licensed advanced practice clinician, who personally examine the principal and sign a statement specifying that the principal has incapacity. Mere old age, eccentricity or physical disability, either singly or together, are insufficient to make a finding of incapacity. Neither of the individuals who make a finding of incapacity may be a relative of the principal or have knowledge that he or she is entitled to or has a claim on any portion of the principal's estate. A copy of the statement, if made, shall be appended to the power of attorney for health care instrument.
No health care provider for an individual, employee of that health care provider or employee of a health care facility in which an individual is a patient or resides, or a spouse of any of those providers or employees, may be designated by the individual as a health care agent unless the health care provider, employee or spouse of the provider or employee is a relative of the individual.
The desires of a principal who does not have incapacity supersede the effect of his or her power of attorney for health care at all times.
A principal may designate an alternate individual to serve as his or her health care agent in the event that the health care agent first designated is unable or unwilling to do so.
Wisconsin's Power of Attorney for Health Care. Sweet. Wis. Law. Sept. 1990.
Planning Ahead for Incapacity. Shapiro. Wis. Law. Aug. 1991.
Power of attorney for health care instrument; execution; witnesses. 155.10(1)(1)
A valid power of attorney for health care instrument shall be all of the following:
Dated and signed by the principal or by an individual who has attained age 18, at the express direction and in the presence of the principal.
Signed in the presence of 2 witnesses who meet the requirements of sub. (2)
A witness to the execution of a valid power of attorney for health care instrument shall be an individual who has attained age 18. No witness to the execution of the power of attorney for health care instrument may, at the time of the execution, be any of the following:
Related to the principal by blood, marriage, or adoption, or the domestic partner under ch. 770
of the individual.
Have knowledge that he or she is entitled to or has a claim on any portion of the principal's estate.
Directly financially responsible for the principal's health care.
An individual who is a health care provider who is serving the principal at the time of execution, an employee, other than a chaplain or a social worker, of the health care provider or an employee, other than a chaplain or a social worker, of an inpatient health care facility in which the principal is a patient.
Wisconsin statutes provide three instruments through which an individual may state healthcare wishes in the event of incapacitation: a “declaration to physicians," a “do-not-resuscitate order," and a “health care power of attorney." These statutory instruments apply under specific circumstances, have their own signature requirements, and may be limited in the extent of authorization they afford. A form will trigger no statutory immunities for healthcare providers when it lacks the features of these statutory documents. A court might conclude, however, that such a form is relevant in discerning a person's intent. OAG 10-14
Health care agent; powers; limitations. 155.20(1)(1)
Unless the power of attorney for health care instrument otherwise provides and except as specified in subs. (2) (a)
and s. 155.60 (2)
, the health care agent who is known to the health care provider to be available to make health care decisions for the principal has priority over any individual other than the principal to make these health care decisions.
A health care agent may not consent to admission of the principal on an inpatient basis to any of the following:
A principal may be admitted or committed on an inpatient basis to a facility specified in par. (a) 1.
only under the applicable requirements of ch. 51
A health care agent may consent to the admission of a principal to the following facilities, under the following conditions:
To a nursing home, for recuperative care for a period not to exceed 3 months, if the principal is admitted directly from a hospital inpatient unit, unless the hospital admission was for psychiatric care.
If the principal lives with his or her health care agent, to a nursing home or a community-based residential facility, as a temporary placement not to exceed 30 days, in order to provide the health care agent with a vacation or to release temporarily the health care agent for a family emergency.
To a nursing home or a community-based residential facility, for purposes other than those specified in subd. 2. a.
, if the power of attorney for health care instrument specifically so authorizes and if the principal is not diagnosed as developmentally disabled or as having a mental illness at the time of the proposed admission.
A health care agent may not consent to experimental mental health research or to psychosurgery, electroconvulsive treatment or drastic mental health treatment procedures for the principal.
A health care agent may consent to the withholding or withdrawal of a feeding tube for the principal if the power of attorney for health care instrument so authorizes, unless the principal's attending health care professional, as defined in s. 154.01 (1r)
, advises that, in his or her professional judgment, the withholding or withdrawal will cause the principal pain or reduce the principal's comfort. A health care agent may not consent to the withholding or withdrawal of orally ingested nutrition or hydration unless provision of the nutrition or hydration is medically contraindicated.
The health care agent shall act in good faith consistently with the desires of the principal as expressed in the power of attorney for health care instrument or as otherwise specifically directed by the principal to the health care agent at any time. The health care agent shall act in good faith consistently with any valid declaration executed by the principal under subch. II of ch. 154
, except that the provisions of a principal's valid power of attorney for health care instrument supersede any directly conflicting provisions of a valid declaration executed by the principal under subch. II of ch. 154
. In the absence of a specific directive by the principal or if the principal's desires are unknown, the health care agent shall, in good faith, act in the best interests of the principal in exercising his or her authority.
If the principal is known to be pregnant, the health care agent may make a health care decision on behalf of the principal that the power of attorney for health care instrument authorizes.
If necessary to implement the health care decisions that a health care agent is authorized to make, in accordance with the desires of the principal, the health care agent may sign or otherwise execute any documents, waivers or releases related to the principal's care or treatment.
Misunderstanding POAs: Advocating for Your Client's Statutory Autonomy. Resch [nka Juel] & Bennett. Wis. Law. Feb. 2020.
Power of attorney for health care instrument; form. 155.30(1)(1)
A printed form of a power of attorney for health care instrument that is sold or otherwise distributed for use by an individual in this state who does not have the advice of legal counsel shall provide no authority other than the authority to make health care decisions on behalf of the principal and shall contain the following statement in not less than 10-point boldface type:
“NOTICE TO PERSON
MAKING THIS DOCUMENT
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH CARE. NO HEALTH CARE MAY BE GIVEN TO YOU OVER YOUR OBJECTION, AND NECESSARY HEALTH CARE MAY NOT BE STOPPED OR WITHHELD IF YOU OBJECT.
BECAUSE YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS IN SOME CASES MAY NOT HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO ESTABLISH A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU, THEY ARE OFTEN UNFAMILIAR WITH YOUR BELIEFS AND VALUES AND THE DETAILS OF YOUR FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS. THIS POSES A PROBLEM IF YOU BECOME PHYSICALLY OR MENTALLY UNABLE TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH CARE.
IN ORDER TO AVOID THIS PROBLEM, YOU MAY SIGN THIS LEGAL DOCUMENT TO SPECIFY THE PERSON WHOM YOU WANT TO MAKE HEALTH CARE DECISIONS FOR YOU IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO MAKE THOSE DECISIONS PERSONALLY. THAT PERSON IS KNOWN AS YOUR HEALTH CARE AGENT. YOU SHOULD TAKE SOME TIME TO DISCUSS YOUR THOUGHTS AND BELIEFS ABOUT MEDICAL TREATMENT WITH THE PERSON OR PERSONS WHOM YOU HAVE SPECIFIED. YOU MAY STATE IN THIS DOCUMENT ANY TYPES OF HEALTH CARE THAT YOU DO OR DO NOT DESIRE, AND YOU MAY LIMIT THE AUTHORITY OF YOUR HEALTH CARE AGENT. IF YOUR HEALTH CARE AGENT IS UNAWARE OF YOUR DESIRES WITH RESPECT TO A PARTICULAR HEALTH CARE DECISION, HE OR SHE IS REQUIRED TO DETERMINE WHAT WOULD BE IN YOUR BEST INTERESTS IN MAKING THE DECISION.
THIS IS AN IMPORTANT LEGAL DOCUMENT. IT GIVES YOUR AGENT BROAD POWERS TO MAKE HEALTH CARE DECISIONS FOR YOU. IT REVOKES ANY PRIOR POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE THAT YOU MAY HAVE MADE. IF YOU WISH TO CHANGE YOUR POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE, YOU MAY REVOKE THIS DOCUMENT AT ANY TIME BY DESTROYING IT, BY DIRECTING ANOTHER PERSON TO DESTROY IT IN YOUR PRESENCE, BY SIGNING A WRITTEN AND DATED STATEMENT OR BY STATING THAT IT IS REVOKED IN THE PRESENCE OF TWO WITNESSES. IF YOU REVOKE, YOU SHOULD NOTIFY YOUR AGENT, YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AND ANY OTHER PERSON TO WHOM YOU HAVE GIVEN A COPY. IF YOUR AGENT IS YOUR SPOUSE OR DOMESTIC PARTNER AND YOUR MARRIAGE IS ANNULLED OR YOU ARE DIVORCED OR THE DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP IS TERMINATED AFTER SIGNING THIS DOCUMENT, THE DOCUMENT IS INVALID.
YOU MAY ALSO USE THIS DOCUMENT TO MAKE OR REFUSE TO MAKE AN ANATOMICAL GIFT UPON YOUR DEATH. IF YOU USE THIS DOCUMENT TO MAKE OR REFUSE TO MAKE AN ANATOMICAL GIFT, THIS DOCUMENT REVOKES ANY PRIOR RECORD OF GIFT THAT YOU MAY HAVE MADE. YOU MAY REVOKE OR CHANGE ANY ANATOMICAL GIFT THAT YOU MAKE BY THIS DOCUMENT BY CROSSING OUT THE ANATOMICAL GIFTS PROVISION IN THIS DOCUMENT.
DO NOT SIGN THIS DOCUMENT UNLESS YOU CLEARLY UNDERSTAND IT.
IT IS SUGGESTED THAT YOU KEEP THE ORIGINAL OF THIS DOCUMENT ON FILE WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER."
A power of attorney for health care instrument that is other than that specified in sub. (1)
shall include either the notice specified in sub. (1)
or a certificate signed by the principal's lawyer stating: “I am a lawyer authorized to practice law in Wisconsin. I have advised my client concerning his or her rights in connection with this power of attorney for health care and the applicable law."
The department shall prepare and provide copies of a power of attorney for health care instrument and accompanying information for distribution in quantities to health care professionals, hospitals, nursing homes, multipurpose senior centers, county clerks, and local bar associations and individually to private persons. The department shall include, in information accompanying the copy of the instrument, at least the statutory definitions of terms used in the instrument, statutory restrictions on who may be witnesses to a valid instrument, a statement explaining that valid witnesses acting in good faith are statutorily immune from civil or criminal liability and a statement explaining that an instrument may, but need not, be filed with the register in probate of the principal's county of residence. The department may charge a reasonable fee for the cost of preparation and distribution. The power of attorney for health care instrument distributed by the department shall include the notice specified in sub. (1)
and shall be in the following form:
POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE
Document made this.... day of.... (month),.... (year).
CREATION OF POWER OF ATTORNEY
FOR HEALTH CARE
I,.... (print name, address and date of birth), being of sound mind, intend by this document to create a power of attorney for health care. My executing this power of attorney for health care is voluntary. Despite the creation of this power of attorney for health care, I expect to be fully informed about and allowed to participate in any health care decision for me, to the extent that I am able. For the purposes of this document, “health care decision" means an informed decision to accept, maintain, discontinue or refuse any care, treatment, service or procedure to maintain, diagnose or treat my physical or mental condition.
In addition, I may, by this document, specify my wishes with respect to making an anatomical gift upon my death.
DESIGNATION OF HEALTH CARE AGENT
If I am no longer able to make health care decisions for myself, due to my incapacity, I hereby designate.... (print name, address and telephone number) to be my health care agent for the purpose of making health care decisions on my behalf. If he or she is ever unable or unwilling to do so, I hereby designate.... (print name, address and telephone number) to be my alternate health care agent for the purpose of making health care decisions on my behalf. Neither my health care agent nor my alternate health care agent whom I have designated is my health care provider, an employee of my health care provider, an employee of a health care facility in which I am a patient or a spouse of any of those persons, unless he or she is also my relative. For purposes of this document, “incapacity" exists if 2 physicians or a physician and a psychologist, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant who have personally examined me sign a statement that specifically expresses their opinion that I have a condition that means that I am unable to receive and evaluate information effectively or to communicate decisions to such an extent that I lack the capacity to manage my health care decisions. A copy of that statement must be attached to this document.
GENERAL STATEMENT OF AUTHORITY GRANTED
Unless I have specified otherwise in this document, if I ever have incapacity I instruct my health care provider to obtain the health care decision of my health care agent, if I need treatment, for all of my health care and treatment. I have discussed my desires thoroughly with my health care agent and believe that he or she understands my philosophy regarding the health care decisions I would make if I were able. I desire that my wishes be carried out through the authority given to my health care agent under this document.
If I am unable, due to my incapacity, to make a health care decision, my health care agent is instructed to make the health care decision for me, but my health care agent should try to discuss with me any specific proposed health care if I am able to communicate in any manner, including by blinking my eyes. If this communication cannot be made, my health care agent shall base his or her decision on any health care choices that I have expressed prior to the time of the decision. If I have not expressed a health care choice about the health care in question and communication cannot be made, my health care agent shall base his or her health care decision on what he or she believes to be in my best interest.