Be prepared: Advance care planning during COVID-19

What you can do to prepare

Plan what you will do if you get sick. Create a contact list of family, friends, neighbors and local service agencies that can provide support in case you become ill.

Plan at least two ways of communicating from home and work that can be used quickly in an emergency (such as a landline phone, cell phone, text-messaging, email). Write down this information and keep it with you.

Have enough household items and groceries so you will be comfortable staying home for a few weeks. Try to have at least a 30-day supply of over-the-counter and prescription medicines and any medical equipment or supplies that you need. Check with your insurance provider or Medicare if you can get a 90-day refill on prescription medicines.

Update or prepare a health care directive

Advance care planning helps your health care agent(s) and health care team know your goals, values and preferences for your health care in case illness or injury prevents you from telling them.

To help you think about your health care choices during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we’ve created a short decision aid. Use this document to help you update or create your health care directive.

Here is more information on steps you can take now in case you need emergency or intensive care due to COVID-19.

If you have an Allina Health health care directive

  1. Talk to your health care agents (whomever you designate to speak on your behalf) about what kind of care you do and do not want. For instance:
    1. Do you want CPR if your heart stops?
    2. Do you want to be on a ventilator to help you breathe?
  2. Make sure your health care agents’ current numbers are listed in your health care directive.
  3. Review your health care directive and make any needed changes.
    1. Write down treatment preferences you do and do not want for COVID-19 on page 9 of the Minnesota document or page 12 of the Wisconsin document. Sign and date that page.
    2. Initial and date all of your changes.
    3. Give new copies to health care agents.
    4. If you cannot print copies, use your smart phone to take pictures of the individual pages and text or email them to your health care agents.
  4. Know where your health care directive, POLST (provider orders for life-sustaining treatment) or both are should need to go you to the hospital. Remind your health care agents to find their copies too. If they are unable to find their copies, email them a copy or text them pictures of your copy.

If you do not have a health care directive

  • Ask at least one adult you trust to be your health care agent. This person (or people) will be able to make decisions about your health care if you cannot speak. Tell them what kind of care you do and do not want.
  • Write down your health care agents’ current phone numbers to share with members of your health care team.
  • Create a health care directive by going to Print a blank document and fill it out, complete a fillable PDF and print it, or complete an online document and print it.
    • Although now is not a good time to get your newly created health care directive validated or witnessed, you can get your document notarized by going to (valid for both Minnesota and Wisconsin). There is a fee for this service.
    • If you don’t want to use a remote notary or two witnesses at this time, you can:
      • Sign and date the document
      • Tell, text or email your preferences to your health care agents
      • Send a picture of your newly created health care directive to your health care agents
      • To make your document valid, you will need to have it notarized or witnessed once you are safely able to do this. Then provide your agents and health care provider with the new valid document.

What to do with your document

Put your health care directive, POLST or both on the front of your refrigerator, or by your front door so it is ready to take with you.

Write down the following on a piece of paper and add it your document:

  • Current medicine list and dosage
  • Health conditions
  • Allergies to medicine or anything else
  • Your primary health care provider’s name and phone number
  • Your health insurance information and ID number
  • Any other information you would like to add