Advance Care Planning
Advance care planning (ACP) is an ongoing process that
requires open discussion with family, caregivers and healthcare providers. The
exercise will help you think about your goals, values and beliefs. These may
all vary as your health condition changes, so you should review your
documentation every time your medical condition changes.
The Twin Cities Medical Society and its Foundation is working
with a number of media partners to encourage families and communities to talk
about end-of-life care choices. The media campaign highlights a step-by-step
program to help you get started. Click here to be taken to the Honoring Choices®
Honoring Choices Minnesota® uses the training, principles,
and methodology of Respecting Choices,® a nationally recognized
model of Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, WI.
Advance Directives are the documents a person completes while
still of sound body and mind. The primary instruments that serve as AD
documents are the Living Will and the
Durable Power of Attorney for Health
Care (DPAHC or Health Care Proxy).
– The Living Will (LW) is a document summarizing a person’s preferences for
future medical care. The typical LW takes effect if the person is terminally
ill without chance of recovery, and outlines the desire to withhold heroic
Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC) – Also known as a Health Care
Proxy, or Healthcare Power of Attorney, the DPAHC is a signed legal document
authorizing another person to make medical decisions on the patient’s behalf.
DPAHCs are important because a Living Will is limited in the range of decisions
it can cover.
Directives (CD) – The State of Minnesota recognizes a combined form that
includes components of the Living Will while also designating a decision maker
in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself. If you live part-time
in another state, you may still need both the LW and the DPAHC. Click here
to read the Minnesota Statute.
You can download the legal forms at the bottom of this page,
but it is recommended that you consult a qualified legal professional before
finalizing the documents.
As long as you can make your own decisions, you can revoke
the DPAHC or CD. Once you have completed the documents, you should make copies
and distribute them to your family, friends, and healthcare providers. Keep the
originals at home, not in a safe deposit box.
One additional document that is gaining popularity is the Physician Orders for Life Sustaining
Treatment (POLST). Having and AD doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be
followed in all situations. For example, if Emergency Medical Technicians
(EMTs) are called to your home, they may not know about your wishes and cannot
go on someone’s “word” that you have an Advance Directive. In this case, the
POLST serves as a Doctor’s order. A POLST should be kept where paramedics can
easily find it. Learn more about this initiative and download forms at www.POLST.org.
Honoring Choices Minnesota® forms are available in
English, Hmong, Russian, Somali, and Spanish.