Thinking about your health care wishes and making an advance directive can be done by anyone at any age. Through honest talks with your loved ones, you can explain what’s important to you and what kind of treatments you do and do not want. These talks can save your loved ones from guilt, uncertainty, or conflict if decisions about your health need to be made and you are unable to make them. Your loved ones can help make sure that your wishes are followed, but first they must know and understand what you want.
Some important steps and things to consider might include:
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Cancer.net. Putting your health care wishes in writing. 2018. Accessed at https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/advanced-cancer/putting-your-health-care-wishes-writing on February 19, 2019.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). Advance directives. Accessed at http://www.caringinfo.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3284 on February 19, 2019.
National Institute on Aging (NIA). Advance care planning: Healthcare directives. 2018. Accessed at https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/advance-care-planning-healthcare-directives#what on February 26, 2019.
Moye J, Sabatino CP, Brendel RW. Evaluation of the capacity to appoint a health care proxy. VA Author Manuscripts; 2013; 21 (4): 326-336.
Last Revised: May 13, 2019