Advance Care Planning
Although there is a national undertaking to improve education about advance health
care planning, only a small number of Americans have created an advance directive.
Help raise awareness about the importance of advance care planning on this special
day and throughout the year. The goal is to get the public to talk about future
health care decisions and prepare written advance directives in accordance with
Most people assume that their kids, family members or close friends will know what
to do for them in medical emergencies or during end of life. But in many cases,
If you are 18 years old or older, you should discuss and document your health care
wishes and decisions in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself.
This type of planning for the future is a gift to family members and friends, especially
if you have filled out an advance directive.
An advance directive is a written statement that lets your doctor, family members,
and other important people know how you want to be treated in medical emergencies
or during end of life. This saves your family and friends the grief of having to
guess or decide what you would want.
In your advance directives, you can:
- Choose the kind of medical treatment you want or don’t want. For example, you can
choose whether or not you want pain medication, tube feeding and life support, or
whether you want to die at home or in the hospital.
- You can also designate one person (your health care agent) to make decisions for
you when you are unable to. This person can be a spouse, child (of legal age), friend,
or any other person you trust.
Kokua Mau, in partnership with HMSA, provides information and tools for advance
care planning. An Advance Health Care Directive Form can be downloaded from Kokua Mau’s web
site. You may add or make any changes as you wish. You do not need an attorney to
complete the form, but you will need either:
- Two witnesses. (They cannot be health care providers, employees of a health care
facility, or your designated health care agent. One witness cannot be related to
you or have inheritance rights.)
- Or a notary public.
After you have completed your advance directive:
- Make sure it is signed by your witnesses or notarized by the notary public.
- Inform your family, friends, and health care providers that you have completed an
- File your original form in an easy-to-find place at home.
- Distribute copies to your designated health care agent, physicians, family, close
friends, clergy, and hospitals that you routinely visit.
For more information, call Kokua Mau at 1 (800) 474-2113 or (808) 585-9977 on Oahu.
You can also call the HMSA Integrated Case Management Services Intake Line at (808) 948-5711 on Oahu.