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What kind of planning can I do for end-of-life care?

Planning for end-of-life medical decisions can make the final days less stressful for the patient, family and caregivers.
People can specify which types of medical treatment they do or don’t want in their final days.

There are important documents that help people maintain autonomy in their healthcare decisions, even if illness or injury prevents them from communicating. They include:
  • Advance directives
  • Physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST)
Advance directives and POLST forms ensure a person’s medical preferences are followed. California and federal law recognize that adults have a fundamental right to make decisions about their own care, including the right to refuse life-sustaining treatment. A report by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows these tools are underutilized, as fewer than half of severely or terminally ill patients studied had these documents on record.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.