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Advance care planning

Gain peace of mind by making your wishes known.

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Plan for your future care

Advance care planning is a part of healthy aging, not only for those facing serious illness. OptumCare Medical Group can help you talk with your loved ones and doctor about the care you want if your condition changes and you can't speak for yourself.

One out of every three people will need someone to make decisions for them at some point. It’s best to be prepared. Establishing your plan now can reduce stress and give you and your loved ones peace of mind.

Start the conversation 

Advance care planning starts with a conversation. By talking about your values, wishes and beliefs, your loved ones and doctor will know exactly what you want.

However, talking about this topic can be difficult. Try starting with these phrases:

  • "I need your help with something.”
  • “I need to think about the future. Will you help me?”
  • “I’d like to let you know what I want.”

Choose a health care agent

Once you start advance care planning, you need to select a health care agent to speak on your behalf. Your agent can be a friend or family member who will:

Be your advocate

  • Talk with your loved ones about your care.
  • Make sure your decisions are upheld.

Document your plan

Put your wishes and choices in writing in an advance directive. An advance directive is a plan that explains what you want if you can't speak for yourself. Share this plan with your loved ones. Be sure to review it when life changes or you change your mind on something.

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Frequently asked questions

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  • Advance care planning is a part of healthy aging, not only for people facing serious illness. It means talking with your loved ones and doctor about the care you want if your condition changes and you cannot speak for yourself.

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  • One out of every three people will need someone to make decisions for them at some point. It’s best to be prepared. Establishing your plan now can reduce stress and give you and your loved ones peace of mind.

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  • Visit the Conversation Project website, which offers helpful ways to start the conversation about what’s important to you.

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  • An advance directive is any document that tells what sort of care you want if you can’t speak for yourself. It also names who you’d want to speak for you.

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  • A health care power of attorney is a legal document that appoints someone to speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself. It is often part of an advance directive.

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  • It’s best to talk to anyone who would be involved in making decisions for you if you couldn’t speak for yourself. That may include your doctor, family members, friends, clergy or others. Make sure they also have a copy of your advance directive.

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  • If you’ve been diagnosed with serious illness, discussing your condition, values and goals can help you get the care you want.

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  • POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment), is a medical order to help those facing serious illness make sure their wishes for life-sustaining care are documented and honored. For more information about POLST, click here.

    Several states offer a similar program called Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST).

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