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Advance Care Planning

Advance care planning allows anyone over the age of 18, regardless of health status, to document their wishes for care and make these wishes known to their health care provider(s), family members, and friends. Should you experience a medical emergency and not be able to speak for yourself, an advance health care directive and/or living will provide the guidance your designated health care agent(s) and your health care team need to make important decisions on your behalf.

What is an Advance Health Care Directive?

An Advance Health Care Directive is a way to record your wishes regarding end of life care. This typically includes either a living will or a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. This should not be confused with the Financial Power of Attorney, which is a different document that does not cover health decisions.

What is a Living Will?

A Living Will is a document that that specifies what treatments you would want or not want if you were in a terminal or unresponsive condition.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare?

Should you ever become incapacitated, this document allows you to name two people to speak on your behalf regarding treatment decisions. Be sure to choose spokespeople who are familiar with your philosophies and will be willing to advocate on your behalf to make sure your wishes are followed.

Why should I Complete an Advance Health Care Directive?

This document prevents miscommunication of your wishes in the event that you are incapacitated by illness or injury and are unable to speak for yourself. Your designee will be responsible for ensuring that your wishes are adhered to during your treatment.

Additional Resources

California Advance Healthcare Directive (English | Spanish)

Five Wishes

The Conversation Project