Myths & Facts about Advance Care Planning

Myth: You only need to think about advance care planning when you are seriously ill or getting older.

Fact: Accidents or sudden serious illness can happen at any age.  If you don’t have an advance directive, doctors will turn to those who are closest to you to make medical decisions on your behalf, and those people may struggle to make decisions if they don’t know what you want.

Myth:  I need to hire an attorney to do my advance directive.

Fact:  You do not need an attorney to complete an advance directive.

Myth: If I name a health care agent in my Advance Directive, I could lose my ability to make my own healthcare decisions.

Fact:  As long as you can speak for yourself, you have a right to make your own health care decisions.  Your agent can only speak for you if you are no longer able to speak for yourself, or you have said that you want them to take the lead in speaking for you now.

Myth:  Once I have an Advance Directive, I can file it away and forget about it.

Fact:  You should think of your advance directive as a living document.  It should be reviewed periodically to be sure the information is still correct. Your advance directive also needs to be easily accessible during a medical emergency, so it should be stored in an unlocked drawer or file cabinet.