End-of-life Planning

End of life planning asks you to think about situations you may face as you age, or if you are in a sudden accident. By deciding now what you may want at the end of your life, you can help your loved ones make the right choices if they need to. This respects your values, and allows those closest to you the comfort of knowing what you want.
Advance Directives let you to tell others how to conduct your personal business, health care and end-of-life choices. The people you name may control your healthcare choices and money, so carefully select them and talk to them at length.

To begin the process, start by filling out the Personal Records Document.  This is a four-page inventory helping you  consolidate your current assets, account numbers, personal information and computer passwords. This will prompt you to make sure that your will, insurance documents and beneficiaries are updated.  You may also want to go to Your Family Matters to see how to avoid probate in certain situations.

To view a series of helpful videos on end-of-life planning, go to: End-of-Life Planning Videos

Types of Advance Directives:

Living Will – A living will tells your family and health care providers what you want at the end of your life if you are unable to communicate, and two doctors agree that you are not going to get better. The document walks you through all of your options and can be modified at any time. Living Will

Durable Power of Attorney – This documentHealth Care Power of Attorney, authorizes the person named by you, to make health care decisions if you are unable to do so.  This is different from a living will which only applies if two doctors say your condition is terminal.

What if I had Dementia? – How much medical care would you want if you had Alzheimer’s disease or another type of brain impairment? The document walks you through choices for mild, moderate or severe dementia. Fill out “What if I had Dementia?” and discuss it with your family and healthcare providers.

Declaration for Funeral Arrangements – The Declaration for Funeral Arrangements, names a person to decide how to dispose of your body and includes your choice that your body be buried, cremated, or donated to science.

Organ and Tissue Donation – There are two ways to register your preferences regarding organ and tissue donation. Complete the Donor Registry Form, which is part of your Living Will, or state your preference when you renew your State of Ohio ID or Driver’s License.


Important forms that you can’t do yourself:

Do-Not-Resuscitate Form – The Ohio DNR Law allows you to limit the care you would receive in an emergency. A DNR requires a treating physician to write an order stating that you do not want to be resuscitated in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest only, not other emergencies. A DNR is separate from a Living Will. .

General Power of Attorney – This document allows the person you name as an “attorney-in-fact” to act on your behalf in business and personal transactions, but it cannot be used to make health care decisions. A person with power of attorney can control all of your finances, so consult with an attorney and make a careful choice.

Limited Power of Attorney – This document authorizes the attorney-in-fact named by you to act on your behalf in specific and limited situations. You select the areas of authority, but this cannot be used to make health care decisions. You should discuss this with an attorney.


Having the Conversation

Once you have made your decisions, it is important that you talk to your family. You want them to know what you want and why. For some, this can be more difficult than making the actual decisions, but The Conversation Project and The Five Wishes websites can help you form and discuss your choices.

The Stanford Letter Project

The Stanford Letter Project was created to help adults take the first step in talking with their doctors about “what matters most at the end of your life.” Doctors agree that it is important to have an end-of-life conversation with their patients, yet many find it difficult to initiate the conversation.
The Stanford Letter Project will help you write the letter, detailing the information you want your doctor to know, in order to provide end-of-life care that agrees with your values and wishes.

The Stanford Letter Project
A Letter to My Doctor


For More Information:

Alzheimer’s End of life Decisions Brochure
Caring Community, Wellness through Life’s End
Midwest Care Alliance
PREPARE for your care
The Conversation Project