Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is Light The Legacy?

Light The Legacy is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving end-of-life care in central Minnesota. We collaborate with Honoring Choices Minnesota and Respecting Choices to accomplish our mission through:

  • Community outreach and education efforts that promote advance care planning and informed decision-making
  • Facilitator training opportunities that allow community members to become proficient in assisting individuals and families with advance care planning
  • Resources and information that encourage health care providers to become actively involved in promoting advance care planning and assisting their patients through the process
  • Health care programs that increase the initiation and utilization of advance care planning and health care directives by both patients and providers to ensure informed decisions are made and honored

How does Light The Legacy engage the community?

Light The Legacy connects with the Central Minnesota community through expos, conferences, classes, and other speaking engagements that provide a platform for explaining advance care planning and the importance of the health care directive. In addition, Light The Legacy trains facilitators who are able to provide advance care planning guidance to individuals and families in Central Minnesota. As a community-based organization, we offer numerous volunteer opportunities that allow members of our community to get involved in our mission. Learn more.

 

How can I get involved and support Light The Legacy?

Becoming a trained facilitator is an excellent way for anyone to partner with Light The Legacy in promoting advance care planning in Central Minnesota. You can find more details about becoming a facilitator on our Training & Events page. Those who wish to further the mission of Light The Legacy without any required training can simply talk openly with their own family and friends and encourage them to participate in advance care planning. The Conversation is what it’s all about!

Occasionally, Light The Legacy has the opportunity to host fundraising events. These events are a great opportunity for business owners to partner with us by donating goods and services, while individuals within the community can offer up the gift of time.

In addition, community members are invited to attend bimonthly committee meetings to become more familiar with Light The Legacy, offer valuable input, and discover additional ways to partner with our organization. For meeting details and to learn about other volunteer opportunities, return to the home page and subscribe to Light The Legacy’s monthly newsletter.

As a community-based organization, Light The Legacy relies on grants and donations to fund our mission. By offering a financial gift, you play a vital role in improving end-of-life care in Central Minnesota through the work of Light The Legacy. Click the link on the right to donate now!

 

What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning is an ongoing discussion between you, your loved ones, and your health care providers. It involves learning about end-of-life options and choosing the kind of medical care is that best for you and your family based on your health care values. The desired goal is that the advance care planning conversation would lead to the completion of a health care directive.

 

Have an Advance Care Planning Conversation
Honoring Choices Minnesota

 

Advance Care Planning 101
Honoring Choices Minnesota

 

Conversations that Matter
Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care (MNHPC)

 

Thinking Ahead: My Way, My Choice, My Life at the End
Consumer Corner: Department of Developmental Services

 

Advance Care PlanningPatients and Families
Compassion and Support at the End of Life

 

Glossary of Terms
Compassion and Support at the End of Life

 

End-of-Life Tools
On Our Own Terms

 

 

How do I begin advance care planning?

Advance care planning starts with identifying your health care values and exploring your options to determine what your wishes are for end-of-life care. For additional resources and information to help you in this process, please visit our Beginning The Conversation page.

 

Advance Care Planning Resource List
Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care (MNHPC)

 

Five Easy Steps
Compassion and Support at the End of Life

 

How do I talk to my loved ones about advance care planning?

Discussing death and dying isn’t easy. But talking about it now will keep your loved ones from having to make difficult decisions later on without knowing what kind of care you want. For additional resources and ideas to help you get the conversation started, please visit our Beginning The Conversation page.

 

Consider the Conversation
A documentary on a taboo subject

 

Having Your Own Say
A book to guide your advance care planning

 

How do I talk to my doctor about advance care planning?

Your doctor is familiar with advance care planning and the health care directive, and will be open to discussing advance care planning with you.

Prior to completing a health care directive, your doctor may be helpful in explaining your medical care options, answering questions, and directing you to any necessary resources. If you already have a health care directive, your doctor can check that it is clear and complete, and ensure that a copy is included in your medical record.

 

Discuss Your Wishes
Compassion and Support at the End of Life

 

What is a health care directive?

A health care directive, sometimes called an advance directive or living will, is a document that outlines your wishes for future health care to be used only when you are unable to communicate your desires directly. While the health care directive is a legal document, an attorney is not required for its completion.

A health care directive usually includes an explanation of your health care values, specifies treatment you do and do not wish to receive under certain circumstances, and names a healthcare agent, the person who will speak for you if you’re unable to speak for yourself.

 

What is an Advance Care Directive?
Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care (MNHPC)

 

Advance Care Directives
Caring Connections, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)

 

What are Advance Directives?
Caring Connections, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)

 

Who needs to complete a health care directive?

Contrary to popular belief, health care directives are not just for the elderly or those facing terminal illness. Every adult, age 18 and older, should complete a health care directive. By preparing for a medical crisis in advance, you can avoid having to make difficult decisions under stressful circumstances. In addition, you ensure your medical care is consistent with your health care values, even if you are unable to communicate with your care providers.

 

Why do I need a health care directive?

A health care directive ensures that your wishes are carried out, even when you’re unable to make them known. Without a health care directive, decisions regarding your treatment are left to the discretion of your medical care providers or a close relative. Family members may disagree regarding the best course of action, adding stress to an already difficult situation, or responsibility may fall to a family member who is not best suited to make decisions for you. Having a health care directive reassures you and your family that you’re receiving exactly the kind of care you would choose for yourself if you were able to communicate your wishes.

 

Why Plan in Advance?
Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care (MNHPC)

 

Why This Wisconsin City is the Best Place to Die
Star Tribune

 

Where can I find a health care directive?

You can download a copy of the Honoring Choices Minnesota Health Care Directive here.

 

Download in Additional Languages
Twin Cities Medical Society

 

How do I complete a health care directive?

While the health care directive is a document, completing one involves more than simply filling out a form. To begin, take some time to reflect on your health care values, beliefs, and desires. Download the Honoring Choices Minnesota Health Care Directive to guide you through the issues and options that must be considered. You may find it helpful to meet with your doctor or with a certified advance care planning facilitator to be confident you understand your options and that you are able to make informed choices regarding your future medical care. When you feel you’ve arrived at your decisions for end-of-life care, engage your loved ones, especially your chosen healthcare agent, in an advance care planning conversation. Now you are ready to put pen to paper and document your desires in a health care directive.

 

Clarify Your Values and Beliefs
Compassion and Support at the End of Life

 

Preparing Your Advance Directive
Caring Connections

 

What do I do with my health care directive after it’s complete?

Once you’ve filled out your health care directive, have two people sign as witnesses or have it notarized. Then bring a copy to your doctor’s office to be included in your medical record. In addition, you’ll want to keep a copy for your own records and distribute one to your healthcare agent as well as one or two other loved ones.

 

Storing Your Advance Care Directive
Caring Connections, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)

 

Whom should I share my health care directive with?

It’s a good idea to share a copy of your health care directive with the people who are closest to you and are most likely to be involved in your care should you become unable to direct your own treatment. This could include a spouse, parents, children, close friends, and whomever you appoint as your healthcare agent.

 

When is my health care directive used?

As long as you are capable of making your own decisions, you have direct control over your medical care. Your health care directive will only be used if you become unable to communicate your wishes and direct your care on your own, for example following a serious car accident, stroke, heart attack, or other medical crisis during which you become unresponsive.

 

How often do I need to revisit my health care directive?

A health care directive is a living document that should be updated any time one of the “Five Ds” occurs:

  • Decade—when 10 years have past since your last update
  • Death—when you experience the death of a loved one
  • Divorce—when you experience a divorce or other major family change
  • Diagnosis—when you are diagnosed with a serious health condition
  • Decline—when you experience a significant decline in health

If at any time your values or desires for care change, you can update your health care directive. Just be sure to communicate these changes with your loved ones, especially your appointed healthcare agent and your doctor, so the most recent copy is contained in your medical record.

 

What is a healthcare agent?

A healthcare agent is the person who will speak for you if you are unable to communicate your own desires for your medical care. The healthcare agent must act according to your health care directive, but since a directive can’t specifically address all possible scenarios, your healthcare agent will also use his or her discretion to act according to your health care values when making decisions regarding your medical care. This is why clearly describing your values in your health care directive and having The Conversation with your healthcare agent are crucial steps in the advance care planning process.

 

What is a Health Care Agent?
Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care

 

Health Care Agent Information Card
Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care

 

Whom should I appoint as my healthcare agent?

A healthcare agent can be a spouse, family member, or close friend—the choice is up to you. An ideal healthcare agent is someone who is:

  • Trustworthy and displays good judgment
  • Capable of making difficult decisions under stressful circumstances
  • Willing to accept the responsibility of being your health care agent
  • Willing to honor your wishes even when s/he doesn’t agree with them

Whomever you appoint, be sure to give him or her a copy of your health care directive and communicate thoroughly about what it means to be a healthcare agent, what your health care values are, and what kind of care you wish to receive should you be unable to participate in your own treatment decisions. It may be beneficial to choose a backup healthcare agent in the event your first choice can’t or won’t take on the role when the time comes.

 

Health Care Agents: Choosing One and Being One
Caring Connections, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)

 

Choosing a Spokesperson
Compassion and Support at the End of Life

 

What is a facilitator?

A facilitator is any person trained to assist individuals and families with the process of advance care planning. Facilitators are often health care providers, clergy, social workers, and other professionals, but may also be laypeople with a desire to impact the community through advance care planning.

 

What does a facilitator do?

The responsibilities of a certified advance care planning facilitator include:

  • Designing an individualized approach to advance care planning
  • Making referrals to other resources as needed
  • Assisting individuals in making informed healthcare decisions
  • Preparing and strengthening the role of the healthcare agent
  • Assisting in the development of a plan that honors the individual’s goals, values, and beliefs for future medical care
  • Developing strategies to effectively communicate the plan to those who will be responsible for interpreting it and making decisions based upon it
  • Providing formal and informal community education
  • Coordinating advance care planning activities within an organization or community
  • Assisting with the development and implementation of organizational systems that support advance care planning objectives
  • Providing emotional support to individuals and families struggling with end-of-life decisions
  • Conducting performance improvement activities to continually evaluate quality outcomes related to advance care planning

 

A Staged Approach to Advance Care Planing
Respecting Choices

 

Respecting Choices Informational Video
Respecting Choices

 

Training and Certification
Respecting Choices

 

How do I arrange a facilitated conversation about advance care planning?

Your health care provider or clinic can refer you to a trained facilitator who can guide you through this important process.



Support Light The Legacy

 

 

 

 

Download a Health Care Directive

 

copyright 2012