Advanced Care Planning

Planning for end of life. Making your decisions and putting your paperwork in order for your family so that they know your wishes.

Advanced care planning can be a wonderful gift to your family. A clear understanding of your final wishes that has been both articulated in writing and shared in conversation prepares your family and/or your advocate for dealing with potentially very difficult decisions during a time of usually great stress. If your wishes are not clearly known, family members can become engaged in very stressful discussions when they try to make decisions for you. Sometimes family members can be torn apart when they disagree and argue amongst themselves. This is why you can provide a wonderful gift to your family at a very stressful time by making your final descisions know to them in advance.

End-of-life conversations can be hard, but your loved ones will thank you.

"Death – along with taxes – is one of life’s few certainties. Despite this inevitability, most people dread thinking and talking about when, how or under what conditions they might die.

They don’t want to broach the topic with family, either, for fear of upsetting them. Ironically, though, talking about death “early and often” can be the greatest gift to bestow on loved ones."

Check out this important January 1022 article from The Conversation about the importance of planning and discussing end-of-life choices and wishes.

Advanced Care Planning for Veterans

Making Decisions: Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning is a process of clarifying your values and health care choices for use at a future time if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.

This article from the US Department of Veterans Affairs discusses advanced care planning as it relates to a veteran.

Five Wishes

Because you care

Talk to your loved ones today about what matters most. The advance care planning program trusted by more than 40 million people.

History & Mission - from the Five Wishes website:

Twenty-Five years of Protecting your Wishes.

Mother Teresa’s work with the dying left an impact on the world, and Jim Towey was no exception. Jim first worked as Mother Teresa’s legal counsel and over the years became her friend and trusted advisor. During their time working side-by-side with the sick and dying, Jim felt a calling to help those nearing end-of-life. He got to see first-hand what people wanted and learned what was important to them before death. At Mother Teresa’s urging, Jim founded Aging with Dignity, a private non-profit organization in 1996, with a mission to safeguard and affirm the human dignity of every person who faces challenges and opportunities of aging or a serious illness.

Two years later, Five Wishes was developed as the first advance care plan (ACP) to address personal, emotional, and spiritual wishes, in addition to medical treatment. It’s called the “living will with heart and soul” because we’ve based our document on what is most important – being able to define a roadmap for how you want to be cared for. It has been embraced by families, community groups, faith communities, medical and legal providers, and businesses who participate in our Five Wishes at Work program.

When creating the Five Wishes booklet, it was important for us to get it right, so we consulted the American Bar Association and end-of-life experts to combine with our field knowledge. And, with the support of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the program became a reality.

Today, Five Wishes is more than a workbook that becomes a legal advance directive when completed. It is a comprehensive, person-centered advance care planning program that offers a proven, easy-to-use approach to having effective and compassionate conversations.

The hallmark of the Five Wishes program is its simplicity and clarity. Just as the Five Wishes advance directive document is widely known for being easy to follow and understand, the full program includes easy to use, scalable tools and resources.

We continue to grow and find new ways to ensure that every person is allowed to have meaningful, compassionate conversations about what matters most so that however a person arrives at the end of life – whether through accident or illness - their wishes are known and documented, and their families are well-prepared and supported in making those end-of-life decisions.

To find out more and to research their products go to the Five Wishes website for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions About Organ Donation for Older Adults

Organ donation is the act of taking healthy organs and tissues from one person and giving them to someone else. Making the decision to donate your organs is one of the most generous gifts you can give.

This article from the NIH National Institute on Aging will help address some of those questions including what it means to be a donor and how to become one.

You’ll also find a list of federal resources to help you learn more about the donation process and how to get started.

Advanced Directives: Free online from AARP

"Find Advance Directives Forms by State"

En español | "When planning for your future medical care, prepare your advance directives to be sure your loved ones make health choices according to your wishes. Select your state below to find free advance directive forms for where you live. You’ll find instructions on how to fill out the forms at each link."

Brain Donation

Brain donation helps researchers study brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, that affect millions of people. Learn about why people donate their brains, the process of brain donation, and how you can enroll to make this generous gift.

Five Myths About Advanced Care Planning

Many people have misconceptions about advance care planning. Learn about these common myths and get the facts.

This article from the NIH National Institute on Aging will help to dispel these advanced care planning myths.

The Conversation Project

The Conversation Project

"The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for care through the end of life.

The Conversation Project® is a public engagement initiative with a goal that is both simple and transformative: to help everyone talk about their wishes for care through the end of life, so those wishes can be understood and respected.

Together we can make these difficult conversations easier. We can make sure that our own wishes, and those of the people who matter most to us (our loved ones, friends, chosen family), are both understood and respected. The Conversation Project offers free tools, guidance, and resources to begin talking with those who matter most about your and their wishes."

The link below explores a variety of resources to help make, discuss and document future healthcare wishes and decisions in your advance care planning. Check out this site that not only adds a great deal of information about advanced care planning but provides a tool to help start the conversations required for advanced care planning.

Choosing a Healthcare Proxy

To name a health care proxy, you can use an advance directive called the durable power of attorney for health care.

An advance directive is a legal document that provides instructions for medical care and only goes into effect if you cannot communicate your own wishes.

A proxy can be chosen in addition to or instead of a living will, which is another kind of advance directive that outlines your preferences around medical care and treatment.

Another article from the NIH National Institute on Aging.

Adults 50+ Overwhelmingly Want Palliative Care, Once They Know What It Is

"The John A. Hartford Foundation (JAHF) asked adults 50+ in America their views on planning and care for serious illness and what matters to them. While unfamiliar with palliative care and advance care planning, when these terms are explained, people overwhelmingly want access to both. Most adults also trust that what matters to them will be respected by the health care system, even though conversations about their wishes aren’t occurring."

For more information on this important planning topic check the website.

Your Conversation Starter Guide

"How to talk about what matters to you and have a say in your health care."

"We can’t plan for everything. But we can talk about what is most important — in our life, and in our health care — with those who matter most. We’ll help you take it step by step. Talking with the important people in our life can bring us closer together. It also helps us create the foundation of a care plan that’s right for us — a plan that will be available when the need arises"

"The Conversation Project wants to help everyone talk about their wishes for care through the end of life, so those wishes can be understood and respected. We created this guide to help you start a conversation (and keep talking) so you can have a say in your health care — today and tomorrow."

The Conversation Project is an initiative of The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). This link will take you to their guide. It is intended to help you have THAT CONVERSATION in a way that makes it easier for your thoughts and concerns to be understood by your family and medical team. This is a pretty unique tool.

Advance Directives for Health Care

During an emergency or at the end of life, you may face questions about their medical treatment and not be able answer them. You may assume your loved ones know what you would want, but that’s not always true. In one study, people guessed nearly one out of three end-of-life decisions for their loved one incorrectly.

Research shows that you are more likely to get the care you want if you have conversations about your future medical treatment and put a plan in place. It may also help your loved ones grieve more easily and feel less burden, guilt, and depression.

This article from the NIH National Institute on Aging will help sort out which of these important documents are needed and what they should include.

FREE: Life Care Planning packets from the AZ Attorney General's Office

"Life Care Planning" is an important task for all of us, whether young or old, healthy or facing challenges. Through increased awareness and access to information, Arizonans of all ages can make their choices known about who will manage their medical affairs in the event of an emergency.

The Attorney General offers the forms, at no cost to you, as follows:

  • Click on the buttons below to download a complete packet or individual forms.
  • Visit the Phoenix and Tucson office for copies.
  • Complete a Life Care Planning request form or call (602) 542-2123 or (800) 352-8431 to have them mailed to you.

The packet includes:

  • Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry - Registration Agreement
  • Life Care Planning Information
  • Life Care Planning Checklist
  • Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Mental Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Living Will (End of Life Care)
  • Pre-Hospital Medical Directive (Do Not Resuscitate)

All of these forms can be downloaded, picked up in the Phoenix or Tucson offices or mailed to you.

They are available in both English and Spanish.

Check the website for more information or to download the packet.

Click on the "Complete LCP Packet"

Free Advance Directives

"Advance Directive Forms (50-States)"

"An advance directive is a document that allows a person (“principal“) to select someone else (“agent“) to make medical decisions on their behalf. The directive also allows a person to make a declaration detailing the health care preferences if they can’t speak for themselves (e.g., reject artificial feeding and breathing machines). An advance directive must be signed in accordance with State law for it to be legal for use."

Check this link for advanced directives. Helpful explanations of forms and processes precede the links to the free forms. I would read this material first, particularly if you are new to the concept of advanced directives.

Advanced Care Planning

Getting Your Affairs in Order: Advance Care Planning

Making health care decisions for yourself or someone who is no longer able to do so can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to get a clear idea about preferences and arrangements while you can make decisions and participate in legal and financial planning together.

This checklist from the NIH National Institute on Aging will demonstrate how to get your affairs in order.

Getting Your Affairs in Order Checklist: Documents to Prepare for the Future

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