Advance care planning is the process of thinking and talking about future medical decisions and the kind of care you would want if you were too sick to speak for yourself. The best time to make these decisions is when you can choose for yourself and one of the best ways to be sure your wishes are honored is to create an Advance Directive.
Thinking about being at the end of life or in a situation where you cannot speak for yourself is difficult and uncomfortable. Taking time to think through your choices in advance, talking about them with people close to you, and writing down your wishes will help you and your loved ones feel more prepared. An Advance Directive is a written plan that helps your loved ones and healthcare providers make important decisions about your care. It speaks for you when you are unable to speak for yourself and provides directions about the care you want or don’t want. There is a worksheet that may help you think through your Advance Directive decisions.
You may revoke your Advance Directive at any time and create a new one. You are the only person that can change your Advance Directive and the choices you have made. An Idaho Advance Directive must be signed by you and does not need to be notarized or signed by a medical provider.
The Idaho Advance Directive includes two parts:
- Idaho Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
- Living Will
A safe and secure way to store your Advance Directive is through the Idaho Healthcare Directive Registry.
The Idaho Healthcare Directive Registry was transferred from the Secretary of State to the Department of Health and Welfare. The new secure, cloud-based system allows you to upload, create and/or share your Advance Directive is underway. The new registry will be available later this year. In the meantime, you may store your Advance Directive and POST in the current registry system.
Creating and storing your Advance Directive in the registry offers peace of mind in knowing your documents are available to your family and healthcare providers whenever they are needed.
Durable Power of Attorney
The Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare is a legal document that allows you to name an individual who will speak on your behalf if you are unable to communicate or make decisions about your medical care. This individual is called your Healthcare Agent, and their job is to tell your healthcare team about your wishes and speak up about the kind of care you want. It is very important to discuss your values, wishes, and instructions with your Healthcare Agent when you create your Advance Directive. These discussions may also continue after the document is signed and when situations change.
The Living Will allows you to make choices about any life-sustaining medical treatments you want or do not want during a medical crisis or at the end of life. It can also include other directions about your goals and wishes for your medical care. A Living Will is a legal document that specifies the type of medical care you want if you cannot communicate your wishes. If you are in a situation where you cannot speak for yourself, the medical team and hospital will consult your Living Will and speak with your Healthcare Agent to determine the path forward.
The Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment form, also called a POST, contains specific medical orders for individuals with a serious illness or approaching end of life and complements the Advance Directive. This form must be completed and signed by you and your healthcare provider. Contact your healthcare provider to ask about completing a POST.