Sharing your wishes
The best way to make your life care plan known is to share your wishes for future health care with the people in your life. Share it with your health care agent, other loved ones, friends, roommates, and Kaiser Permanente.
As many people as possible should be informed about your life care plan. Your life care plan can only be acted upon if people know about it. Share your plan verbally and in writing.
Also, keep any documents, such as your “Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD),” in a place that is easy for you and others to access. Give a copy to your health care agent, your family members, and your physician.
Why share your plan with others
Once you complete your Life Care Plan
- Make a copy for yourself and keep it where it can be easily found. You may also want to let a family member know where this copy is.
- Give a copy to your doctor. Discuss the contents of your AHCD with your doctor to ensure that he or she understands all your wishes. Your record is available at any Kaiser Permanente medical office or hospital.
Having thought about what you would want for future health care, the next step is sharing your values and healthcare wishes with your agent.
It is also helpful to share your thought process when it comes to decision-making about health care. Sharing your goals of care and underlying beliefs will help guide your agent if they ever need to speak on your behalf.
A conversation about values is very intimate, especially as it relates to how you want to live the rest of your life. We are influenced by so many things; from, personal experiences, to family member’s values and wishes, to religious values and even the media. There are no “right answers” when it comes to your values. They are personal to you.
Before you start sharing your values and goals of care with your agent, it is helpful to be in a comfortable place without distractions and to allow for plenty of time. Your agent may want to ask you questions so that they can explore your values and beliefs with you. Sharing your values with your agent will help them know you well so that they are able to communicate on your behalf if they ever need to.
The documents and processes that make your Life Care Plan legal vary by state. Select your region to find your state’s documents.
Your life care plan can be made legal in the State of California through any of a number of different documents or processes which are legally approved by the state. Ideally, we would like you to complete an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD). Please make sure that any legal document you complete is shared with both your health care agent and Kaiser Permanente.
An Advance Health Care Directive is an official document in which you can specify your values and health care wishes. This document can be made legal in the state of California in two ways; either by having two witnesses sign with you or by having it acknowledged before a Notary Public.
- Advance Health Care Directive for California - English (pdf)
- Advance Health Care Directive for California - Spanish (pdf)
- Advance Health Care Directive for California - Chinese (pdf)
Option 1: Sign your AHCD with two witnesses
- Sign your AHCD in the presence of two witnesses or have each of your witnesses acknowledge your signature. They merely need to look at your signature and acknowledge that it came from you.
- At least one of your witnesses cannot be related to you (blood, marriage or adoption) and cannot be entitled to any part of your estate.
- Neither witness can be your appointed health care agent.
- Neither witness can be your health care provider.
- You will sign on one page, and the two witnesses will sign on another page.
Option 2: Notary Public
Sign your AHCD in the presence of a Notary Public. The Notary Public will complete the appropriate page with his or her signature and official seal.
For patients of skilled nursing facilities
Patients in skilled nursing facilities must also get the signature of the ombudsman or patient advocate at their facility, as one of the two witnesses. Please follow the specific instructions on page 11 of the Advance Health Care Directive.
You can change your Life Care Plan at any time. In fact, it is not unusual to make changes over time.
We encourage you to periodically review your values and wishes for your future health care to make sure that what you specified at an earlier point in time continues to reflect what you want.
If you want to make changes to your AHCD, you’ll need to fill out a new one. Give the new version to your doctor, your agent, and anyone else who has a copy of your old AHCD. Ask your agent and family members to bring you the old versions of your AHCD so you can discard them.
You will also need to let your physician, agent, and loved ones know of the changes to your life care plan or Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD).
Remember, as long as you are able to speak for yourself, the choices you make while hospitalized will be honored, even if they differ from those expressed in your written AHCD.
Reviewed by: John W Prochnow, November 2017