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  • Advance Health Care Planning

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    Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA)

    This form allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf if at some point you’re not able to make them yourself. This form can come into play in many circumstances, not just when someone has some kind of memory impairment.

    An MDPOA can be something that’s needed for short periods of time, like when someone undergoes surgery, or for the rest of someone’s life, like when someone has advanced dementia or Parkinson’s.

    Living Will

    The Living Will allows you to indicate your wishes in a few very specific scenarios, like if you are in a vegetative state. Most people don’t realize that, though a standard living will may give some guidance to your loved ones about your overall thoughts about treatment, it doesn’t give specific guidance for the scenarios you’re most likely to encounter, like a doctor recommending dialysis or a particular surgery.

    Because of this, there are a few living will versions that allow you to give direction in a wider range of circumstances. This also shows the importance of having the conversation with your loved ones, so you can fill in the gaps that paperwork leaves out.

    Colorado Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (DNR form)

    Sometimes referred to as the MOST and often found on bright green paper, this form is a medical order, signed by a doctor, to indicate your wishes about Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). This form is generally the least understood and often the one that feels scariest or most intimidating.

    This form is generally reserved for people with an advanced illness who are likely in their last few years of life, like late stage cancer or End Stage Heart Failure. You can give direction in your living will about when you would like health care professionals to let your disease take its course without attempting to reverse death.

    What is a Health Care Directive?

    Advance Health Care Planning, also called Advance Care Planning or other names, refers to the documents commonly needed as you age AND the conversations around what’s important to you regarding your health care. In recent years, there has been more of a push for health care providers to provide information about advance care planning to patients and its more common that when you go to the hospital someone will at least ask if you have an advance care directive.

    Advance Care Planning Counseling

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    Advance Care Planning has been around for decades, and by now there are many types of forms one can complete. Nationally, a little less than 50% have completed some kind of advance care directive, yet most patients and families I’ve worked with at end of life or with advanced illness still don’t feel like they have a good grasp of what they want, how to decide, or feel a lot of pressure to please their loved ones.


    This is why conversations about your wishes are so important. More than just completing advance care directives, advance health care planning counseling can help give you peace of mind that you not only have the documentation needed in place, but that your family will feel as confident and comfortable as possible when making decisions on your behalf.