Advance care planning helps you communicate your wishes for medical treatment should you become unable to make health care decisions for yourself. It’s thinking about, talking through and making choices based on your own personal goals, values and healthcare preferences.
Planning ahead gives you time to really consider your personal values and preferences. And time to discuss them with your loved ones before a crisis hits. Advance care planning communicates, clarifies and puts your wishes in writing.
There are several ways you can put your wishes in writing, one document called an Advance Directive, is recommended for any person aged 18 and older.
Advance Healthcare Directives
An advance healthcare directive allows you to state your preferences for medical treatments and select someone to be your healthcare agent. Your healthcare agent will make your healthcare decisions in case you're unable to do so, or if you’d prefer someone else do so.
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How to Complete an Advance Directive:
Think carefully about who to select as your healthcare agent. This individual should know your wishes and values in case of a serious illness or accident. They should also be willing and able to make decisions that reflect your wishes, even if they don’t agree or wouldn’t choose the same for themselves.
Complete instructions for making the advance directive document legally actionable are included in the link below. You can have it signed by a notary public, or by two witnesses to make the Advance Directive legal. Neither of your witnesses can be named as a healthcare agent. Also, one witness must not be related or benefit from the individual’s death.
Once the document is appropriately signed, make sure the right people have a copy of it. All people named as healthcare agents should have a copy. Your primary care physician should also have a copy. Community Medical Centers should have a copy too, which will be stored securely in our or your electronic health record. You can look at your advance directive documents by logging into your MyChart account, then clicking on the Health tab.
We Can Help
Our trained facilitators are available to meet with you and guide you through the advance care planning process as part of our Respecting Life Choices program.
Call (559) 724-4182 to make your advance care planning appointment.