By Kathy Black, PhD, MSW
Aging With Dignity
Aging with Dignity was established to provide people with practical advice to plan for the end of life. This organization created an advance directive document, Five Wishes, which is honored in most states. The Five Wishes document is a thoughtful approach to advance care planning and addresses the following 5 issues:
- Which person you want to make health care decisions for you when you can’t make them.
- The kind of medical treatment you want or don’t want.
- How comfortable you want to be.
- How you want people to treat you.
- What you want your loved ones to know.
U.S. Living Will Registry ®
This registry was created to promote the use of advance directives and make people’s health care choices available to caregivers, families and providers while maintaining confidentiality of the information and documents. There is no cost to individuals to store their documents and people are responsible for updating their documents. The electronically stored directives are accessible to providers through secure transmittals. This website is particularly helpful for people who travel frequently.
American Bar Association Consumer’s Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning
This website is offered through the American Bar Association Commission on Legal Problems of the Elderly. The website offers links to locate elder law attorneys throughout the country. The website offers the following 10 tools to assist in health care advance planning:
- How to select your health care agent or proxy
- Are some conditions worse than death?
- How do you weigh odds of survival?
- Personal priorities and spiritual values important to your medical decisions
- After death decisions to think about now
- Conversation scripts: Getting past the resistance
- The proxy quiz for family & physician
- What to do after signing your health care advance directive
- Guide for health care proxies
- Resources: Advance planning for health care
Caring Connections , a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), is a national consumer engagement initiative to improve care at the end of life, supported by a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The website offers detailed information on the following topics:
- Keys to Receiving Quality End-of-Life Care: Planning and Information
- Health Care Agents
- What Else Do I Need to Know?
- How to Download Your State’s Advance Directives
- What to Do After Your Advance Directives are Signed
- What to Do if Family Members Disagree with Your End-of-Life Care Wishes
- What Are Advance Directives?
- What Happens if I Complete an Advance Directive?
- Implementing Your Advance Care Plan
- Important Information about Preparing Advance Directives
- How to Talk About Your End-of-Life Care Wishes
- Advance Care Planning Checklist