Let’s talk about Advance Care Planning

Every adult over the age of 65 — no matter how healthy and independent you currently are — should start thinking about Advance Care Planning. This includes filling out important documents called Advance Directives. These documents let your loved ones and your health care team know about the care you would want if a serious illness or injury keeps you from making or communicating decisions for yourself.

Advance Care Planning is not a one-and-done talk. It’s a process — an ongoing conversation you have while you are well that may change with events in your life. Start the conversation today!

Important documents for everyone over 65

Advance Directives allow you to spell out your wishes for treatment should you become physically or mentally unable to communicate with your care team. If you do not already have these documents in place, start the process to create or update them today!

  1. LIVING WILL — expresses your wishes about lifesaving treatments and procedures in the event you are too ill to communicate. You may also use a 5 Wishes form.
  2. MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY — names someone else to make decisions about your health care when you are not able to do so yourself.

If you have a serious illness, your health care team may recommend that you also complete a Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form. In Delaware, this form is called the Delaware Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment, or DMOST. This medical order gives you even more control over specific emergency treatment preferences and guides your care in any health care setting — at home, by first responders, in the hospital or a skilled nursing facility.

Sign, seal and deliver

Advance Directives documents are available via the For Beneficiaries option in the main navigation menu above. Hospitals also have copies of these forms for you to complete.

  • Give a copy of your Advance Directives to your health care proxy.
  • Ask your Primary Care Team to add your Advance Directives to your medical record.
  • Tell close family and friends where you keep your Advance Directives. Make sure you pick a secure, but easily accessible place (not a bank safe deposit box!).
  • Take a copy of your Advance Directives with you for planned hospital stays.
  • Review your Advance Directives regularly, every 2-3 years or whenever you have a major health or life change (married, divorced, widowed) or if you need to change your health care proxy.
  • Keep track of who has copies of your Advance Directives in case you make changes and need to provide updated versions.