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Advanced Healthcare Directives

Talking with your family, friends and your physician about your wishes for medical care at the end of your life is called advance care planning. It's a way for you, your loved ones and your physician to discuss the kinds of care you want and don't want at that time. You can also specify the care you would want if you become unable to speak or make decisions for yourself, due to a coma or other medical condition. When you write down your wishes, this kind of plan is called an advance directive.

An Advance Health Care Directive is a legal document that tells your physician, your family members and friends about what kind of care you would like to have if you become unable to make medical decisions. It's called an advance directive because you choose your medical care before you become seriously ill. To download a copy of an Advance Health Care Directive, click here. This document contains translations for English and Spanish. For the English pages only, please print pages 1-8.

Another form of advance care planning is Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST). POLST is a doctor’s order that indicates what types of life-sustaining treatment you do or do not want if you become seriously ill. Completing a POLST is voluntary, and does not replace the Advance Health Care Directive. To download a copy of the POLST form, click here. This document contains translations for English, Spanish, Armenian, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Pashto, Japanese, Farsi and Hmong. For the English pages only, please print pages 1-2.

The Advance Directive largely identifies a surrogate decision-maker should you become unable to make decisions about your health care. The POLST is intended to help you and your doctor discuss and develop specific plans to reflect your wishes. It also helps doctors, other health professionals and emergency personnel honor your wishes for life-sustaining treatment, especially in an emergency. The POLST is designed to be in addition to an Advance Directive.

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