Advance Directives

It’s never too early – Even though it may be a difficult conversation, many people have said they felt empowered after expressing their final wishes.

Advance Directives are legal documents that put end-of-life care requests in writing. Under the law, every competent adult has the right to formulate Advance Directives. Just as the name implies, requests and wishes are made in advance, and are carried out when a person has a terminal illness, and/or becomes incapacitated and is no longer able to make requests. Advance Directives are extremely helpful for family members and health care teams. Families and caregivers can have peace knowing they are honoring a loved one’s final wishes.

There are two main types of Advance Directives:

A Living Will

Your loved one provides written instructions about the type of care they would like to receive in the event they become unconscious or are unable to make decisions.

A Medical Power of Attorney

Your loved one provides written instructions assigning someone to be in charge of making important decisions on their behalf if they become incapable of making those decisions on their own. This is also known as assigning a healthcare agent.

POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)

POLST is an approach to end-of-life planning which is implemented differently from state to state. Information and forms relevant to your state may be acquired from polst.org

For some inspiration on how to begin a conversation about end-of-life wishes, you can visit www.engagewithgrace.org.