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An advance directive allows you to make decisions about your future healthcare. After you talk with others about what is important to you at life’s end, it’s important to learn what decisions are documented in an advance directive.

90%

of adults say that talking with their loved ones about end-of-life care is important.

27%

have actually had the conversation.

82%

of adults say it’s important to put their wishes in writing.

23%

have actually done so.

75%

of Americans say they want to die at home.

25%

of them actually do so.

Advance Care Planning Terms

As you make end-of-life decisions, there may be phrases you haven’t encountered before. Here are a few key terms to increase your knowledge of advance healthcare planning.

Advance Directive

WHAT: A written statement of your wishes regarding medical treatment. It names a healthcare agent to make decisions if you cannot.

WHY: Ensures your end-of-life wishes are respected and carried out if you are incapacitated and unable to communicate them.

Healthcare Agent

(Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare)

WHO: The person you designate to make healthcare decisions, including end-of-life decisions, if you are unable to communicate them.

CAN BE: Someone you’ve had the conversation with — a friend, a spouse, a sibling, a parent, or any trusted individual of your choice.

Hospice

A medical benefit reserved for terminally ill patients. Hospice addresses the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of individuals in the last six months of life.

Notary

A person authorized to certify legal documents. In Missouri, an advance directive must be notarized and witnessed by two individuals.

Palliative Care

Assists people who are undergoing treatment for a serious illness to feel comfortable. Care addresses the symptoms and side effects of a disease or treatment.