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My documents

Ensuring your wishes are met

Once you have chosen your healthcare champion and talked with him or her about your treatment preferences, it’s time to put your decisions in writing. Follow the steps below to document your wishes:

Taking the next steps

Once you have created your documents, you will want to make several copies:

  • Give a copy to your doctor. If you send it by mail, be sure to include a cover letter with your address, date of birth and phone number.
  • Discuss your choices with your doctor(s). Tell your doctor what your wishes are. Make sure you are both clear on what you want - or don't want - so that your wishes will be honored.
  • Give a copy of your document(s) to your health care agent, if you have one. This is the person you named in your Health Care Power of Attorney.
  • Give copies to your family and loved ones. You might also want to give a copy to your clergy.
  • Keep the original document(s) where they will be safe and easy to obtain. Make an extra copy for yourself, in case you lose your original or it is accidentally destroyed or damaged. Do not put these documents in a safe deposit box. If you have a smartphone, you may want to take a picture of each page of the document and include in your photos.
  • Label one copy “Hospital,” and take it with you if you are admitted to a hospital. Tell the hospital staff to make a copy of the document and return your copy to you.
  • Make a list of everyone to whom you gave a copy of your document(s). If you ever change your documents, you will have a list of who needs updated copies.
  • Smartphone app. Consider uploading a copy of your advance directive(s) directly onto your smartphone. The American Bar Association has created this easy to use application for your smartphone to keep your advance directive(s) at your side when you need it most.