People have different values and preferences when it comes to making decisions about their health care. For example, some patients may want to be more involved in their treatment decisions with their doctors than others. Or when seriously ill, some people want to live as long as possible through aggressive treatments, while others may be more concerned about the quality of their life during the time they have left.
For patients who want to focus on their end-of-life plans, try this starter kit from The Conversation Project, an acclaimed national effort dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for care at the end of life.
First, think about your health care wishes. Who do you want to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself? Are there circumstances under which you would not want to receive life-sustaining treatment?
Then, share your preferences with any one who may be impacted. Talk through your decision with family, caregivers, and doctors.
Massachusetts has five key health care planning documents — these are “living” documents that can be updated at any time.
Learn more about these documents and how to talk about them with your health care providers at Honoring Choices Massachusetts.
Be sure to make copies of the paperwork for family members or others who need to know about your preferences, and give them to your doctor's office so they can be filed in your medical record.