Advanced Care Directives

Advanced Care Directives

You can name someone as your Health Care Power of Attorney, or Health Care Proxy, giving them the legal authority to make health care decisions for you if you become unable to make your decisions known. By including Advanced Directives in your Health Care Power of Attorney document, you may specify exactly what measures are to be taken in what circumstances.


The National Institute of Aging provides a wealth of information about End of Life healthcare decisions on it’s website.

Advance Directive or End of Life Decisions MAY include:

  • Do you want your life to be preserved for as long as possible?
    • “Do everything” means that if you are dying, anything that might keep vital organs working will be tried, for example, but not limited to:
      • CPR or defibrillation (electric shock) to restart the heart
      • a breathing machine (ventilator)
      • starting dialysis for failing kidneys
      • an IV or feeding tube to provide nutrition
  • Do you want life support if it will only prolong your dying?
  • Do you want your pain managed, even if it makes you less alert or shortens your life or is some pain acceptable to be able to remain alert?
  • What do you want done if you are unconscious and it is very unlikely that you will ever become conscious again?
  • Would you want to have a feeding tube surgically implanted into your stomach if you have a progressive illness that will be fatal and is in an advanced stage, and you are consistently and permanently unable to communicate by any means, swallow food and water safely, care for yourself or recognize family and other people, and it is very unlikely that your condition will substantially improve?
  • Do you want your organs donated (either transplant or for research)
  • Do you want to be buried or cremated?
    • You may want to include where you have prearranged your funeral or burial.
  • Should the cost of your care be considered when making a decision about medical care?

Resources to help you or your loved one begin the planning process.

The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about what they want for end of life care.

Consumer’s Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning was created by the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging.

Caringinfo, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, provides resources to help decisions about end-of-life care and services before a crisis.

The Standford Letter Project offers 3 free letter writing templates on “What Matters Most”, “Who Matters Most”, and “I Matter Too” in eight different languages. A Bucket list template is also included.

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