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Who would speak for you and what would they say?


What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning is a process that allows people to identify values, goals, and preferences for future medical care. It provides direction when a person is unable to talk about their own health care choices and can help families and/or people that matter understand what to do in case of an emergency. Advance care planning includes advance directive documents as well as on-going conversations with loved-ones and decision-makers.

What is an advance directive?

An advance directive is a legal document(s) that tells your health care team your wishes about what you do or don’t want for your medical care when you are not able to make these decisions for yourself. This can be as simple as filling out a form at home that states who will make decisions for you if you could not.

Why do I need an advance directive?

Everyone over the age of 18 should have at minimum a Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA) and a conversation about their health care wishes with those who matter most. This gives you the power to make sure your health care wishes are respected. These conversations should be ongoing and happen throughout life. Advance care planning is not only for end-of-life, it is for everyone.

What advance directive is right for me?

Advance directive flow chart

What should I do right now?

  • Name and document a Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA). You can complete this form at home (no attorney needed) and give to the people that matter to you. (Spanish Medical Durable Power of Attorney form)

    • MDPOA names a Health Care Agent to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to speak for yourself.

    • There are many legal MDPOA and Advance Directive forms available. Choose what is best for you.

  • Discuss your values and wishes with your MDPOA and people that matter most to you so they know what kind of care you would want (tools below can help guide these conversations).

  • Keep your advance directive document ready and available. Make sure your MDPOA, loved ones, and all your healthcare providers have a copy.  Your providers may not ask, but it is important that you advocate for your healthcare needs and wishes.  Even a picture of the document on your phone is helpful in an emergency situation. 

Tools available for patients and caregivers (also available in Spanish)

Resources for Advance Care Planning

Colorado Care Planning provides local tools and resources on advance care planning. 

Center for Improving Value in Healthcare: The Colorado MOST Form is housed here.

Patient Activated Learning System has a short 2-minute video on what advance care planning is.