An advance directive puts your choices for health care into writing.

The advance directive tells your doctor and family what kind of health care you do or do not want if:

  • You lose consciousness.
  • You can no longer make health care decisions.
  • You cannot tell your doctor or family what kind of care you want for any other reason.
  • If you want to donate your organ(s) after your death.
  •  If you want someone else to decide about your health care if you can’t.

Having an advance directive means your loved ones or your doctor can make medical choices for you based on your wishes. There are three types of advance directives in Washington State.

  • Durable power of attorney for health care. This names another person to make medical decisions for you if you are not able to make them for yourself.
  • Healthcare directive (living will). This written statement tells people whether you want treatments to prolong your life.
  • Organ donation request.

Talk to your doctor, family, friends, and those close to you. Put decisions about your medical care in writing now. You can cancel an advance directive at any time. Your health plan, doctor, or hospital can give you more information about advance directives if you ask. You can also:

• Ask to see your health plan’s policies on advance directives.
File a grievance with your plan or the Health Care Authority if your directive is not followed.

The Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form is for anybody who has a serious health condition, and needs to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment. Your provider can use the POLST form to represent your wishes as clear and specific medical orders.

You may learn more about Advance Directives by contacting your Community Health Plan of Washington at 1-800-440-1561 (TTY 7-1-1).