Action Steps

1.  Talk with your loved ones:  Find time to talk with your family and/or friends about your wishes.  In particular, talk with the person(s) who is most likely to speak for you when you cannot speak for yourself. 

2.  Consider your options:  The Task Force provides two planning documents to help you consider your options -- pick the one that you find most helpful.

  • "Let's Talk About Advance Care Planning" -- Developed by the Task Force, this handout explains the documents and the questions that need to be considered.
  • "Your Conversation Starter Kit" -- Thought-provoking brochure with conversation starters to help you talk with your loved ones.

3.  Complete your Advance Directive Documents:  The Task Force provides two options of Advance Directive forms.  You can choose the one that best suits your needs.  These documents require the signature of two witnesses, but do not require an attorney or a notary.  Click here for a full explanation of these documents.

  • Pennsylvania's Department of Aging "Advance Directive - Understanding Advance Directives for Health Care" -- This handout includes the following forms, and directions for completing:  
    • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (Identifying the person who will speak for you, anytime you are unable to communicate.)
    • Living Will (Your care choices for treatment at end of life)
  • Five Wishes" -- This booklet presents important questions for you to consider.  It also includes the two Advance Directive forms.  The Five Wishes forms are accepted in 42 states, including Pennsylvania.  

4.  Share your Advance Directives:  Store your completed Advance Directive documents in an easily accessible place and give a copy to immediate family members.  Additional copies should be given to:

  • The person who will serve as your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
  • Your family and/or friends
  • Your doctor's office
  • Your local hospital (Send to the "Medical Records Department")

5.  Review and Update: Your can make changes in your Advance Directives at any time.  We recommend that you review them every years or so.  

Discussing your wishes and planning in advance is a gift for your family.  

Let us know if we can help.  Contact us at (717) 851-2333.  



The links below provide additional resources to help you consider your healthcare wishes. 

AARP :  AARP features an End-of-Life Planning resource center with perspectives on starting advance care planning discussionsfacilitating discussions with adult children about end of life planningfrequently asked questions and considerations for siblings planning care for parents.  

Aging With Dignity (Five Wishes):  The Five Wishes document helps individuals express care options and preferences. The advance directive meets the legal requirements in most states (including Pennsylvania).  Contact the Coalition for a copy.  

American Hospital Association:  The American Hospital Association has advance care planning resources from some states hospital associations and a Put It In Writing brochure for patients and families to document their wishes.

American Society of Clinical Oncology &  ASCO's patient information website provides advanced care planning resources and a comprehensive Advance Care Planning Workbook.  

The Conversation Project:  The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care.  The organization provides very helpful information, including tool kits, to help individuals and organizations.  

The Hello Game:  The Hello Game is a conversation game for living and dying well. Designed as a fun, engaging way to start conversations with any group, the game is a tool suitable for players at all life stages. The game is also available for large groups through event kits.

MedicAlert Foundation:  The MedicAlert Foundation offers emergency medical information and identification services including Do Not Resuscitate medical IDs and option to store advance directives for all 50 states.  

National Association of Social Workers:  NASW has an Advance Care Planning resource center with tip sheets for planning before a crisis and special considerations for Psychiatric Advance Directives.

National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives:  National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives offers general and state-specific information on psychiatric advance directives.  

Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST):  The National POLST (Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) Paradigm is an approach to end-of-life planning based on goals of care conversations between patients, loved ones, and health care professionals designed to ensure that seriously ill or frail patients can choose the treatments they want or do not want and that their wishes are documented and honored; the website includes videos about POLST and patient stories.

US Living Will Registry

 Additional State Specific Resources

 Organ Donation Resources