As you get older, it becomes even more important to start thinking about your future health care needs. OptumCare™ offers advance care planning to help you and your family start to think about what’s most important to you. This planning gives you a way to let your health care providers and loved ones know what kind of medical care you want if you cannot speak for yourself. The result: You can receive the health care that you’ve chosen, no matter what, for the rest of your life.
Conversations about your future health care
OptumCare can help bring you, your family members and your health care providers together to talk about your future health care. During this discussion, you will talk about:
- Your existing health conditions and how these could impact your life going forward.
- Your wishes and goals related to your health care. This includes what you view as most important in terms of your health care needs.
- The health care options you have if you need life-sustaining treatments someday. This includes the possible side effects of these treatments.
- What types of health care match your personal values and beliefs.
- What treatments you would and wouldn’t like to receive in critical situations.
The most important goals of an advance care planning conversation are:
- To make decisions about your future care.
- To make sure that your care needs and wishes going forward are as clear as possible.
The goal of advance care planning is to create a document called an advance directive. This is sometimes called a health care directive. OptumCare can help you create these written instructions. The document will spell out your specific wishes for future medical treatments and care.
An advance directive is also important to relieve your loved ones from having to make future care decisions for you. This document lets both your family and your medical providers know the medical choices you have made. This is true whether or not you can communicate with them at the time.
An advance directive will help:
- Protect your right to make your own health care decisions.
- Make it clear how you would like specific care, such as life-sustaining treatment, to happen (or not happen).
- Make a record of your care preferences. This allows you to feel confident that your wishes and goals will be followed.
Advance directives usually also name someone as a medical power of attorney, or health care proxy. The person you name can make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so yourself. There are several guidelines for medical power of attorney. These guidelines may be different in each state.
In some states, your health care provider may also complete a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) documentation.
- Find information on how to create an advance directive in your state.
What is a medical power of attorney, or health care proxy?
A medical power of attorney is sometimes called a health care proxy. This is a person you designate to make health care decisions for you when you can’t make them for yourself. You can tell your health care proxy to follow the medical instructions you’ve written in your advance directive. You can also write down how you want your health care proxy to make decisions for you. And you can decide whether you want one or more people to be your proxy.
How do I make my advance directive an official document?
Different states have different laws. To be an official document, the advance directive:
- Must be signed by you or by someone authorized to sign for you
- May have to be witnessed by two people who watch you sign the document
- May have to be notarized by a notary public
- Must include the name, address and relationship of all your health care proxies
An OptumCare representative can help you understand what the rules are in your state. The CaringInfo website also has forms and directions for completing an advance directive in each state.
Will my advance directive be valid everywhere?
Your advance directive will be valid in any of the U.S. states.
Will my advance directive be good for the rest of my life?
Yes, your advance directive will be good until you decide to change it or stop it. You can create a new advance directive at any time. You may also choose to end your advance directive. To do this, you can sign a written statement indicating that’s what you want to do.
How to join OptumCare
OptumCare helps meet your unique health care needs. We offer a full range of healthy aging services including advance care planning. Find out how to join OptumCare today to get started with an advance directive. It’s an important way to map out your future care.