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What is an Advanced Directive Document?

                                                                 Honoring Choices

Advance Care Planning for You and Your Loved Ones: Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is Advance Care Planning (ACP)?

Advance care planning is a process by which health care professionals speak with you to help you:

  • Comprehend your health and medical conditions and health care treatment options so that you can make decisions about treatments you may or may not want in the future
  • Communicate your choices to family, loved ones, and health care providers
  • Consider your background, spirituality, culture and values when you think about your future health care

Why participate in advance care planning?

Decisions about end-of-life care are deeply personal.  Advance care planning provides you with an opportunity to decide and communicate your wishes based on your personal values, beliefs and culture.  It also gives you the chance to learn more about the medical care options available to you.  Advance care planning can be a reassuring gift to your loved ones.

What is a health care directive?

A health care directive is sometimes called an advance directive or living will. It is a legal, written document that lays out your personal choices for health care if you are ever unable to talk about your choices in the future. For example, if you were in a coma, the health care directive would be able to direct your health care team. The directive names a health care agent (chosen by you) who can make sure that your choices are followed. You can change your health care directive at any time and it is recommended that you review it annually to make sure it shows your most current wishes.

What is a health care agent?

A health care agent is someone chosen by you to make health care decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself. The agent is named in your health care directive and must be at least 18 years of age.

What is the POLST?

POLST stands for Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment. The POLST turns a health care directive into medical orders to be followed by medical professionals in case of emergency. Your doctor may suggest a POLST form if you have a chronic and/or life-limiting illness.  

How do I begin the Advance Care Planning process?

Speak with your doctor, a nurse, or other staff to arrange for an advance care planning facilitator to meet with you. If you feel confident that you know what decisions you’d like to make already, just ask for a copy of the health directive form. The form includes instructions for completion however it is suggested that you go over the form with a trained professional.

For a printable copy of the advance care directive form, please go to patient forms tab on our website.


 

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