The Women's Journal

Do You Have An Advance Directive?

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Delaware Palliative, a program of Delaware Hospice, works as a trusted community partner in end-of-life education and support in Delaware. Delaware Palliative has joined the collaborative effort of national, state, and community organizations committed to ensuring that all adults with decision-making capacity have the information and opportunity to communicate and document their healthcare decisions.

Unfortunately, only about 25% of Americans have documented their future healthcare wishes in writing in the form of an advance directive. It is important to understand that the right time to make your wishes known is while you are still in good health. While making healthcare decisions is often difficult in the best of circumstances, having others make the decision for you is even more difficult. Each of us has the right and ability to make our wishes known. By allowing our healthcare providers and our loved ones to know what we want, you’ll ensure the right decisions are made.

Advance directives gives you the ability to document the types of healthcare you do and do not want, and to name an “agent” to speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself. When we put off documenting our wishes through an advance directive, too often the result is family conflict, stress and confusion at a time when you are most vulnerable and cannot speak for yourself. The Delaware Palliative team is an expert at guiding people through the process of Advanced Healthcare Planning. We can provide assistance to you, a loved one or your healthcare provider. Delaware Palliative can be reached by calling: 1-800-838-9800 or

Don’t wait for “the right time” to talk about advance directives with your family; here are a few suggestions to open the door for you and start the conversation today.

Conversation Starters:

I was thinking about what happened to Uncle Joe, and it made me realize . . . 

Remember how Aunt Mary died, how would you want your death to be different?

What to Talk About:

How would you like your last phase of your life to be; what is most important to you?

Who do you want (or not want) to be involved in your care?  

Please visit where you’ll find (under the ‘I am Living With an Illness’ tab) helpful information including advance directive forms, planning resources and tools that will help you have the conversation.