How Do You Document End Of Life Wishes?

August 1, 2023 3:51 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

How Do You Document End Of Life Wishes?

Documenting your end-of-life wishes is an essential part of planning for the future. It ensures that your desires regarding medical treatments, life-sustaining measures, and funeral arrangements are respected when you are no longer able to communicate them. By taking the time to document your wishes, you can provide clarity and peace of mind to your loved ones during a challenging time. In this blog post, we will explore different methods and resources available to document end-of-life wishes.

1. Advance Directives:

One of the most common ways to document end-of-life wishes is through an advance directive. An advance directive is a legal document that outlines your preferences for medical treatment and care, particularly if you become unable to make decisions for yourself. These preferences can include the use of life-sustaining measures, resuscitation, organ donation, and palliative care. It is important to consult with an attorney or use state-specific forms to ensure that your advance directive is legally binding and valid in your jurisdiction.

2. Living Will:

A living will is a specific type of advance directive that focuses on end-of-life medical treatments. It provides detailed instructions about the type and extent of medical interventions you want or do not want if you are in a terminal condition or a persistent vegetative state. A living will enables you to express your preferences regarding artificial nutrition and hydration, ventilators, and pain management. It ensures that healthcare providers understand your wishes and can honor them when necessary.

3. Healthcare Power of Attorney:

Another crucial aspect of documenting end-of-life wishes is appointing a healthcare power of attorney, also known as a healthcare proxy or healthcare agent. This individual is entrusted with making medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. It is crucial to choose someone you trust, someone who understands your values and beliefs, and is willing to fulfill your wishes. Discuss your end-of-life desires with your healthcare agent to ensure they are aware of your preferences and can effectively advocate for you.

4. POLST or MOLST Forms:

POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) or MOLST (Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) forms are medical orders signed by healthcare professionals that reflect your current end-of-life treatment preferences. These forms are typically prepared in consultation with your healthcare provider and cover specific medical interventions, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), artificially administered nutrition, and comfort measures. These forms are particularly useful for individuals with serious advanced illnesses and are recognized across different healthcare settings.

5. Conversation Starter Kits:

Sometimes, initiating conversations about end-of-life wishes with loved ones can be challenging. In such cases, conversation starter kits can serve as helpful resources. These kits typically provide prompts, questions, and resources designed to facilitate conversations about end-of-life planning within families and close-knit communities. These kits can be found online or through local organizations specializing in end-of-life care.

6. Online Tools and Apps:

Advances in technology have made it possible to document end-of-life wishes digitally. There are various online tools and apps available that allow you to create, store, and update your advance directives and other end-of-life documents online. These platforms often provide templates, legal guidance, and secure storage options for easy accessibility by you and your designated individuals. Ensure that the platform you choose prioritizes privacy and security to protect your sensitive information.

7. Sharing and Communication:

Documenting your end-of-life wishes is just the first step. It is equally important to share your documents and the details of your wishes with relevant individuals. Inform your family members, close friends, and healthcare providers about your documented preferences and provide them with copies or access to your documents. Regularly update your documents as needed and ensure that those close to you are aware of any changes.


Documenting your end-of-life wishes is a critical aspect of planning for the future. It ensures that your desires regarding medical treatments, life-sustaining measures, and funeral arrangements are known and respected. Utilize tools such as advance directives, living wills, healthcare power of attorney, POLST or MOLST forms, conversation starter kits, and online resources to document your wishes. Remember, sharing and discussing your documents with your loved ones is equally important to create a shared understanding of your desires. By taking these steps, you can have peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be honored when the time comes.

Got Questions? Let Us Help

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