It's never too soon to have a Healthcare Directive

June 9, 2014

A healthcare directive is important – regardless of age
Rena Lehman Head shot (2).jpgby Rena Lehman, MVHC Health Information Specialist

Many of us have talked with our spouse or other family member about what we would want done should the unimaginable happen. A healthcare directive allows you to indicate your preferences about special end-of-life treatments, pain management, directions about organ donations and other considerations, including funeral arrangements.

Advance care planning allows important conversations to be held with loved ones about what your health care choices would be if you are unable to speak for yourself. Having a healthcare directive takes the burden off of family, friends and physicians because it makes them aware of your wishes. It is often described as a gift you give to your loved ones and yourself.

Here at Minnesota Valley Health Center Nursing Home we encourage all of our residents to have a healthcare directive in place. Regardless of age, however, it’s a good idea for individuals of all ages to think about and document their end-of-life wishes before an unexpected illness or injury occurs.

There are many resources available. A free healthcare directive toolkit, including forms, can be found on the University of Minnesota Extension website: The Minnesota Health Care Directive

Honoring Choices Minnesota
Honoring Choices Minnesota" is an effort of the Twin Cities Medical Society and its Foundation to encourage families and communities to have discussions regarding end-of-life care choices. Twin Cities Public Television is supporting "Honoring Choices Minnesota" with efforts to reach and engage Minnesota citizens in this effort. A free Healthcare Directive form and other resources can be downloaded at:

It’s never too soon to think about the choices that may need to be made about your end-of-life care and putting your preferences down in writing. Whether you already have a healthcare directive or are just beginning the process, it’s imperative as well to make sure your family members and your personal physician have copies.

Questions and Answers About Health Care Directives

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