There are three advance care planning documents:
This is a legal document that states what kinds of treatment should be given to us when we can no longer make decisions or speak for ourselves. It only goes into effect if we are terminally ill or have lost decision-making capacity, and it is usually completed in advance of any known illness. We complete it ourselves (no one else may complete the form for you), and unless there are other known facts, it must be honored. To become valid, it must include the signatures of two witnesses. All adults should have an Advance Directive.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
This legal document authorizes someone chosen by an individual (called an ‘agent’) to make decisions on their behalf if they are no longer able to speak for themselves. The agent makes decisions on behalf of the patient which are aligned with their known or stated preferences for ongoing medical care.
AR POLST does not replace the above forms but can be used to operationalize the directives of the living will.
Advance Care Planning Resource for Patient & Families
The Center for Practical Bioethics shares The Caring Conversations® Workbook to guide you, your family and your friends through the process of advance care planning with a highly individualized focus. The Workbook includes a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions form as well.
Click here to access.