Advanced Care Planning for Medical Decisions

The best time to plan for end-of-life care is while you’re fairly healthy. And a good person to start with is your healthcare provider. Once you have made your decisions and plans, share them with family members and other care providers.

What is Advance Care Planning and Why Is It Important?

Advance Care Planning is the process of making decisions in advance of an illness or injury to express your choices if you became unable to communicate those choices yourself. Many people do not think about planning for their end-of-life care until they are older or very sick. However, anyone over the age of 18 should make a plan in case of a serious disease, accident, or sudden emergency such as surgery while able to do so. Oklahoma law assumes that persons want all possible treatment to keep them alive unless a completed Advance Directive Form states otherwise.

Why Do I Need Advance Care Planning?

Not only will planning for your care give you peace of mind, it will lessen the suffering of your loved ones. Without a written plan, you would receive all necessary medical treatment in the event you suddenly became sick or injured. If you were unable to speak for yourself, doctors would not know your wishes and your loved ones might be scared, overwhelmed, or unsure of what to do. You might already have strong beliefs about:

  • Who you would like to make health care decisions for you.
  • What treatments you would agree to or refuse in order to keep you alive.
  • Where you choose to spend the last days of your life.
  • Financial costs for treatments that may keep you alive but not make you better.

What is an Advance Directive?

An Advance Directive form is a legal document that allows you to write down your wishes for healthcare treatment during the end-stage of your life. This form will also allow you to appoint someone to be your voice (Health Care Proxy) if you are unable to speak for yourself. It is important to know that this form only becomes valid if two doctors have determined that you are unable to make medical decisions.

An Advance Directive Allows You To:

  • Choose a person to make health care choices for you. You can also choose an alternate
  • (back-up) person in the event your first choice is unable to speak for you.
  • Indicate what health care treatments you would agree to or refuse.
  • Choose if you would like to accept or refuse life support for certain conditions.
  • Indicate if you would like to donate your body or organs for medical research or people waiting
  • on transplant.

Check your knowledge of advanced directives with this quiz.

Download and refer to the document below.