If you needed medical care unexpectedly, do you know what kind or treatment you would want?

Advance care planning is an important part of making sure you receive the medical care that you want, in the event that you are unable to share your wishes. 

Thinking about and expressing your wishes for your health-care should be considered a standard part of taking care of yourself.

Each person has a unique set of experiences, values, and beliefs. These influence the way they make medical decisions. Advance care planning offers you the opportunity to share these values and beliefs in advance. This will help you make informed decisions throughout all stages of your life and health needs. 

Advance care planning is not about your age or overall health. It’s about being ready for whatever comes your way. Every adult should have an advance care plan, no matter his or her age.

Three Basic Steps of Advance Care Planning

  • Think about your wishes and talk with your family
  • Decide what care plan is right for you
  • Write down your choices to create your advance care plan

    What is an Advance Care Plan?

    The two forms that are part of an advance care plan are also known as advance directives. These two forms are a healthcare power of attorney and a living will.

    Health-Care Power of Attorney 

    A healthcare power of attorney authorizes someone that you choose to make decisions on your behalf when you are medically unable to make the decisions on your own.

    Living Will

    A living will lets you express your wishes for specific medical treatment, in case you become unable to communicate your decisions on your own. You are encouraged to complete both of these forms to make sure that your medical team has the most information about how you would want to receive care.


    In Pennsylvania, there is also an advance directive form called POLST that is recommended for people with serious health conditions. A POLST (Pennsylvania Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) is signed by your doctor, and translates your end-of-life wishes into a physician order. You can learn more about POLST here: POLST FAQs

    • If you would like your advance directive forms included in your medical record with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, please email a copy to LGLegalForms@lghealth.org

    Downloadable Forms

    What to do With Completed Forms

    It is recommended that you give copies of your advance directive forms to your:

    • Family doctor
    • Hospital/health system of choice 
    • Family members

    You should also keep a copy for your records. 

    If you would like your advance directive forms included in your medical record with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, please email a copy to LGLegalForms@lghealth.org

    What If I Have Questions?

    You can contact our program coordinator at 717-544-4047 or via email at advancecareplanning@LGHealth.org with any questions and for information on presentation requests and individual consultations.

    Articles and Resources for More Information

    Pennsylvania Department of Aging
    555 Walnut Street, 5th Floor
    Harrisburg, PA 17101-1919

    Pennsylvania Medical Society
    777 East Park Drive P.O. Box 8820
    Harrisburg, PA 17105-8820

    Aging With Dignity
    P.O. Box 1661
    Tallahassee, FL 32302-1661

    Gift of Life Donor Program
    401 N. 3rd Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19123
    800-DONORS1 (800-366-6771)

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