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Planning Your Care

To start planning your care, first identify what things are important to you in your life.

Try completing these sentences and answering these questions:

  • As I look back, the things that were most important or that meant a lot to me were: [List your responses.]

  • The things I hope I will be able to do in the next few years are: [List your responses.] 

  • The people who are important to me are: [List your responses.] 

  • How do I feel about spending time in the hospital?

  • How do I feel about having a surgery?

  • What do I think about machines or computers helping my body?

  • How important is it for me to be independent?

  • How do I feel about living if I need someone else to do all my personal care (like bathing or helping me go to the toilet) for me? 

The things you value are important to tell your doctor about. Make sure your family members know, too.

All adults should prepare for end-of-life care. This is similar to writing a will and includes: 

Durable power of attorney for health care. You should pick one or more individuals to make decisions for you if you are not able to make your own choices. The health care surrogate or “durable power of attorney for health care” should understand your basic values and know what conditions you want to avoid. Should we distinguish between POA for matters other than healthcare? 

Advance directive. An advance directive usually contains the name or names of the durable power of attorney or health care surrogate. It is a legal document that must be signed, and the signature witnessed. Advance directives also permit you to state the kind of care you want or do not want under possible conditions. All states have advance directives, which can be found online. You can also get them from your state government . Lawyers can also help people write advance directives.

  • Last Edited 03/30/2018