Advance Care Planning

It can be difficult to talk with your family member or loved one about advance care planning, but we can help.

Advance Care Planning

What Can Be Included in Advance Care Planning Discussions?

What would happen if you were unable to speak for yourself? Would your loved one and family know your wishes? There’s never a better time than the present to think about advance care planning and make your wishes known.

A policy passed in 2015 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services promotes the provision of knowledge needed to make important decisions to patients and their loved ones. Physicians can counsel their patients and give them control over the type of care they receive and when they receive it.

Advance care planning discussions can include the following:

  • Advance directive: The overall plan of a person’s wishes (e.g. how much or how little should be done when he or she might not be able to make decisions). An advance directive can include a living will and durable power of attorney.
  • Living will: Statement of an individual’s wishes with regard to medical treatment in circumstances under which the individual can no longer express consent. To print a sample document in English, click here. Para imprimir un documento de ejemplo en español, haga clic aqui.
  • Durable power of attorney: Person designated to make financial and/or medical decisions on behalf of the individual.
  • Designation of a health care surrogate: Person designated by an individual to make and authorize healthcare-related decisions on their behalf. To print a sample document in English, click here. Para imprimir un documento de ejemplo en español, haga clic aqui.
  • Life-sustaining procedures: Medical treatments that are used to sustain life such as artificial nutrition and hydration, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and mechanical ventilation.
  • Do not resuscitate order (DNRO): Informs healthcare personnel and emergency providers that they are NOT to attempt to revive patients if their heart and/or breathing stops.
  • Physician order for life-sustaining treatment (POLST): The POLST document represents a patient’s medical care preferences and is signed by a physician.

If you want your wishes known, start by taking the time to have conversations with your family and physician. If you need assistance in getting the conversation started, please call 1-866-204-8611 or Contact Us.

More About POLST

POLST is a physician medical order form representing a patient's medical care preferences. It is printed on pink paper to ensure it is easily distinguished. Through a discussion with a healthcare professional, POLST translates a patient's wishes and preferences into medical orders to ensure their wishes are honored.

Decisions documented on the POLST include:

  • Attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Relocate to another level of care such as a hospital
  • Use a ventilator to help with breathing
  • Administer antibiotics and IV fluids
  • Provide artificial nutrition by tube

Should all patients have a POLST?

POLST is not for everyone. Only patients with serious illness or frailty should complete a POLST with their provider. For healthy patients, an advance directive is an appropriate tool to make future end-of-life wishes known.

If a patient already has an advance directive, is POLST necessary?

POLST complements an advance directive but does not replace it. An advance directive is still necessary to appoint a legal representative.