Honoring Choices

It's about the conversation

Advance care planning is a process which helps you think about, talk about, and write down your choices for future health care decisions. While it's not an easy topic to consider, it is important for every adult to have a health care directive–a written plan for loved ones and health care providers to follow–so that your wishes are known if a time comes when you cannot speak for yourself.

Honoring Choices Minnesota is focused on helping every Minnesotan understand what advance care planning is, and working with health care providers to make sure they offer assistance to all patients, and will honor your choices.

The most important part of advance care planning is the conversations you have with your family and friends. Writing down your wishes is only helpful if the people in your life who will be involved know about them and understand them.

Usually, the first step in creating a health care directive is choosing who will be your health care agent. This person, sometimes called a proxy, or health care power of attorney, will be the one you trust to make decisions for you if you cannot do so yourself. Often, the best person for the role of agent is not the first person you think of. It's important to talk about this with those closest to you and determine who will be best suited to carry out your wishes.

The other part of a health care directive is stating your treatment choices. This part may be as detailed or as simple as you would like; it's all about what is important to you. There are no right or wrong choices, and you can change your directive at any time–in fact, we encourage you to look at it periodically throughout your life to make sure it is still an accurate expression of your wishes.

View or print the Honoring Choices Health Care Directive in multiple languages:

Frequently Asked Questions

As long as you can make your own choices, you control your own medical care. If you can't make choices for yourself, your health care team, in cooperation with your agent, will follow your wishes as described in your health care directive. Therefore it is very important that you give your health care provider(s) a copy of your directive for your medical record.
You should always keep a copy with you when you travel, but be aware that every state has their own rules about directives. Many will honor a document which is legal in the state where it was written, but if you spend significant time away, you should check on local laws.

No. Adults may complete their own legal directives,
providing it meets the following Minnesota
requirements:

  1. Your directive must be in writing, with your full
    name clearly visible and be signed and dated.
  2. Your directive must list one or both of these
    components:
    • A named health care agent
    • Health care or treatment instructions
  3. Your directive must be witnessed by two adults
    or by a notary public.
  1. The traditional directive is comprehensive and detailed. Eight pages long, it leads you through many decisions about medical, spiritual and personal choices. This is the directive most commonly recommended for the majority of adults.
  2. The short form is a new, simple directive which allows you to simply name your agent, and/or list basic health care wishes—but it does not go into detail. This form is meant for young adults or others who do not feel the longer version is right for them.

Both can be downloaded from HonoringChoices.org (click on the "Resources" tab) or request a copy: info@HonoringChoices.org or 612-362-3704.
Note: a health care directive is not a POLST (Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment). If you have questions about POLST please contact
your healthcare provider directly.

Ask yourself:

  1. Do you trust this person to be able to make tough decisions?
  2. Will this person honor your wishes even if they don't personally agree?
  3. Is this person emotionally strong enough to make choices at a difficult time?
  4. Can this person stand up for you if family members or others disagree?
  5. Is this person likely to be nearby and available in case of emergency?

Then sit down and talk with the person you've chosen, ask them if they are willing and able to take in the role. Once they agree, make sure they clearly understand your wishes and your goals for future healthcare.

Remember the 5 D's:

  • Decade – each time you celebrate a milestone birthday
  • Divorce – or other life-changing event or relationship change
  • Death – of a family member or friend, or that affects you strongly
  • Diagnosis – a new or changed health care challenge
  • Decline – disease progression or change which leads to a decline in health

How do I obtain advance care planning assistance in Faribault and Owatonna?

Contact Kerry Hjelmgren, Honoring Choices Advance Care Planning Coordinator for Faribault and Owatonna
phone: 507-331-5061 | email: honoringchoices@allina.com

Honoring Choices of Faribault & Owatonna is sponsored by:
Faribault Area Hospice Foundation
Owatonna Hospital Foundation
Federated Insurance

Additional resources