Advance care plan captures your wishes in case you become ill later

A husband and wife sit at their kitchen table and look at a tablet.

An old adage suggests that the best time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining. This wisdom applies to completing an advance care plan—the best time to do it is when you don’t need it. This might be a good time to begin putting your preferences, goals and values of care into writing.

An advance care plan, or ACP, can make sure your voice can be heard in the event you unexpectedly become too ill to speak for yourself.

While most Americans say it’s important to put their wishes in writing, only about one-third of them have done so, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.1 Even for people who have completed an ACP, too often the document is in a cabinet somewhere, or a lawyer’s office, and can’t be found when needed.

Humana has teamed up with MyDirectives®, a digital advance care plan that can be accessed anywhere in the world at any time. You can create your MyDirectives plan by signing in to MyHumana.com. MyDirectives allows you to create a digital ACP online or, if you prefer, to upload existing paper documents. You can also identify the individuals you would like to speak on your behalf if it comes to that.

MyDirectives offers video tutorials, a printable conversation guide for family discussions and a wallet card to print, complete with a Quick Response (QR) code to make it easy for your providers to find your plan. If you have an Apple device, you can download the MyDirectives mobile app and take pictures of paper documents to upload or record a video message to your family and providers.

Examples of preferences covered in an ACP

In emergencies, doctors have a variety of treatment options. Near the end of life, they can sometimes use artificial or mechanical ways to keep someone alive, or they can focus more on relief of pain and anxiety, depending on the patient’s wishes. With an ACP, you can make your feelings known in advance on such questions as:

  • Who you would like to designate to participate in healthcare decisions on your behalf
  • Whether to administer CPR, use a ventilator or provide artificial nutrition
  • How religious or personal preferences might affect your treatment
  • Whether to request medical care focusing on comfort care, i.e., relief of pain and anxiety2,3

You may be familiar with a POLST—a Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment. This is also an important document—but it is not an ACP. Whereas a POLST is more focused on the very end of life and is completed by a doctor, an ACP is completed by you and provides for a thoughtful process about what is important to you and documents these thoughts. It is appropriate for everyone over the age of 18 and can be easily updated as your health status or perspectives change.

Important things to know about Humana and MyDirectives

  • Only you, your healthcare agents and your providers will know what’s in your ACP. Neither Humana nor the government will be aware of what’s in your plan.
  • You are the one who decides who can see your goals, values and preferences for care.
  • You can update your ACP at any time, at no additional cost to you.

Creating your MyDirectives plan helps ensure your wishes will be known when you cannot speak for yourself—and it provides peace of mind for your family that your wishes are being honored.

Sign up and complete a MyDirectives plan today

Go to MyHumana.com to get started.

  1. Sign into MyHumana.com.
  2. Go to the MyHealth tab. Select “My Health.”
  3. Select MyDirectives in “Health support for you.”
  4. If you’re not registered for MyHumana, select “New user.”

Sources:

  1. “While Many People Are Worried About Facing Challenges if Seriously Ill, Fewer Have Taken Steps To Prepare,” Kaiser Family Foundation, last accessed May 5, 2020, http://files.kff.org/attachment/Infographic-Serious-Illness-in-Late-Life-Survey, opens new window.
  2. “Advance Care Planning: Healthcare Directives,” National Institute on Aging, last accessed April 22, 2020, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/advance-care-planning-healthcare-directives, opens new window.
  3. “Providing Care and Comfort at the End of Life,” National Institute on Aging, last accessed April 22, 2020, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/providing-comfort-end-life, opens new window.