Advance care planning for patients and families

What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning is a process that allows people to make decisions about their future medical care. It provides direction when a person is unable to talk about their own health care choices. Advance care planning includes advance directive documents as well as on-going conversations with loved-ones and decision-makers.
 

What is an advance directive?

An advance directive is a legal document(s) that tells your health care team your wishes about what you do or don’t want for your medical care when you are not able to make these decisions for yourself.
 

Why do I need an advance directive?

Everyone over the age of 18 should have at minimum a Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA) and a conversation about their health care wishes with those who matter most. This gives you the power to make sure your health care wishes are respected. These conversations should be ongoing and happen throughout life. Advance care planning is not only for end-of-life.
 

What advance directive is right for me?

Advance care decision tree

What should I do right now?

  • Name and document a Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA)

    • MDPOA names a Health Care Agent to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to speak for yourself.

    • There are many legal MDPOA and Advance Directive forms available. Choose what is best for you.

  • Discuss your values and wishes with your Health Care Agent and important people in your life so they know what kind of care you would want (tools below can help guide these conversations).

  • Keep your advance directive document ready and available. Present it to all your health care providers. They may not ask, but patients need to advocate for themselves, or have their representatives prepared to do that.

 

Tools available for patients and caregivers (also available in Spanish)