A Beginner’s Guide to Advanced Care Directives

A Beginner’s Guide to Advanced Care Directives

Advanced care directives are designed to communicate your medical wishes in the event you’re unable to. Often called “advanced care planning forms,” they cover things like what life-sustaining treatments you’ll allow and who can make decisions on your behalf if necessary.

There’s no hard and fast age you should have an advanced care directive completed. At any stage of life, these forms can help convey your medical preferences and wishes should an emergency occur. They’re particularly important if you have a known medical condition, dependents, a family history of illness or a dangerous job or hobby.


4 Types of Advanced Care Directives

Advanced care directives can include any number of forms, and the exact ones you’ll need depend on the state you currently live in and the issues you’re looking to address.

Some of the advanced care planning forms you might need include:

  • A Health Care Proxy form of Medical Power of Attorney – These designate who can make medical decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to.
  • An Advance Directive or Living Will – These forms cover your end-of-life care preferences.
  • POLST or MOLST forms – These designate which life-sustaining treatments (ventilators, dialysis machines, etc.) you’ll allow should they be necessary.
  • DNRs – Also called Do Not Resuscitate orders, these tell doctors whether you will allow resuscitation in an emergency.

If you’re not sure which advance care planning forms you need to file in your state, ask your doctor or contact an Uphold Health care coordinator today. We can help.


When to Start Advance Care Planning

Advance care forms aren’t just for the elderly. They’re important for anyone (of any age) who wants to ensure their medical preferences aren’t just known but honored.

That being said, there are some circumstances that might hasten the need for an advanced care directive. If you fall into one of the following categories, you’ll want to complete yours ASAP:

  • You have a chronic illness that could worsen without warning
  • You’ve been diagnosed with a serious or terminal illness
  • You perform a job that’s dangerous or poses a health risk
  • You participate in an extreme sport or hobby
  • You have a family history of heart attack, stroke or other sudden and life-threatening conditions
  • You are single or worry your spouse or children will not adhere to your verbally-expressed wishes

If you have children, dependents or other loved ones you care about, having an advanced care directive on file can help lighten their load should your health decline. With advanced care forms in place, your loved ones not only know your preferences and wishes, but they can also avoid making impossible and painful decisions regarding your care and health.


File Your Advance Care Directives Today

Are you ready to get started on your advanced care directives? Our end-of-life planning tools make it simple. Sign up for Uphold Health today and start planning for your care.