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Advance Care Planning

Have the Conversation – Advance Care Planning

What is Advance Care Planning?

Who would make decisions for you, if you couldn’t make them for yourself?family outside
Advance care planning is for all adults 18 and older. It is talking about future health care decisions if you had a sudden event, like a serious accident or illness and could not make your own decisions.
This person is called a Health Care Agent.
It is important to write down your goals, values, and preferences on a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care form and a Health care Directive.

These documents should be updated regularly and shared with your health care providers and loved ones. We can help you with these forms at no cost.

Advance Care Planning is a Process that Helps You:

  • Think about your values and wishes.
  • Consider future health care decisions that may need to be made on your behalf.
  • Talk about the choices with your loved ones and your doctor.
  • Make a written plan designating your Health Care Agent.

What is a Health Care Agent?

A Healthcare agent is a person you choose to make future medical decisions for you if you are unable to speak for yourself.

Who Should I select as my Health Care Agent?Multi generation family

A healthcare agent should be someone you trust to speak for you. This is often a loved one, a family member or a close friend.

The person you choose should be:
  1. Willing and able to be your Health Care Agent.
  2. Understand what you would want and speak up for your wishes when you can’t
  3. Able to handle tough decisions at difficult times.

What Happens if I don't Have a Designated Health Care Agent?

In Washington State, if the patient is unable to make medical decisions for him/herself, then the order is:

  1. State Appointed Guardian (if any)
  2. Health Care Agent (per DPOAH)
  3. Spouse or Registered Domestic Partner (even if separated)
  4. Adult Children (all must agree on care)
  5. Parents
  6. Adult Siblings (all must agree on care)

More information can be found here

What do I do Next?

  1. Schedule a free appointment
    1. Contact our Advance Care Planning coordinator at 509.436.4008
    2. Ask your doctor for a referral for Advance Care Planning assistance
  2. Talk with your (potential Healthcare Agent)
  3. Complete an Advance Directive
    1. Advance Directive – English
    2. Advance Directive – Spanish
  4. Document your wishes and share your documents with your medical team and all those close to you

Remember your wishes may change as your life circumstances and experiences change.

You should review your plans and choices whenever any of the 5 D’s occur:

  • Decade
  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Diagnosis
  • Decline in your health

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it right now.” – Alan Lakein

For additional resources please visit Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest

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