Where to Go From Here
Talk with your family about
whom you have selected as your
health care agent and explain the reasons why. Try to
openly discuss the types of medical care you would or would not want under
various circumstances. Make it an ongoing conversation. You may decide to first
introduce the idea by bringing up the fact that you have selected an agent. If
your family has difficulty discussing the issue, provide more information
Make sure your
advance directive forms are kept in a safe but
accessible place, such as in your desk with other important papers. Let your
loved ones know where you keep your forms. Give copies to:
- The person that you choose for your agent and any alternate agents.
- Your lawyer.
- Your doctor or doctors.
- Family members.
- Any other person who may be called if you have a medical emergency.
Do not keep
your advance directive forms in a safe deposit box. If you are not able to communicate, your
family may not know how to access these forms. Also, don't rely on your lawyer to
be able to provide the documents when they are needed. Your family may not know
whom to contact.
You can make changes to any advance directive at
any time. This includes changing your health care agent. You should fill out a
new form for any changes except very minor ones, such as a new phone number or
Communicate with your health care agent. If you change
your mind about medical care matters and make a new living will, keep your
health care agent up to date.
For more information on living wills
and medical powers of attorney, see the topic
Writing an Advance Directive. For more information on
other end-of-life issues, see the topics
Hospice Care and
Care at the End of Life.