Our goal is to support faith leaders in the conversations they have with the communities they serve about advance care planning. Here, you will find resources to help you start the conversation, including:
An Advance Directive is different than a Pennsylvania Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form.
An Advance Directive allows you to put your wishes in writing and share them with your loved ones and caregivers. A living will is a type of advance directive.
A POLST form is meant to help effectively communicate the wishes of seriously ill patients to have or to limit medical treatment as they move from one care setting to another.
There are many myths surrounding advance directives and advance care planning, so it is important to know fact from fiction. The following are some common myths that create barriers to properly completing and implementing advance directives.
Myth #1: Advance directives mean you will receive no treatment.
An advance directive is a guideline on how to treat you. In it you can say what kind of treatment you want and what kind of treatment you do not want, even in different situations. Advance directives mean others – including loved ones or a doctor – will have instructions from you on your wishes.
Myth #2: Advance directives mean giving up control of your care.
As long as you are able to make decisions for yourself, you remain in control of your medical care. Advance directives only become active if or when you cannot speak for yourself.
Myth #3: Only the elderly or sick people need advance directives.
Unexpected accidents, illnesses, and emergencies can happen at any age. The best time to complete an advance directive is when you are healthy so that you and your loved ones have time to seek the information you need and have a conversation about the things that are important to you.
Myth #4: Financial power of attorney means medical power of attorney.
Most often these are separate legal documents. The person you trust with your financial power of attorney is not necessarily the same person you choose for your medical power of attorney.
Myth #5: You need an attorney to obtain an advance directive.
You can use an attorney if you want, or if your desires are complicated, but your doctor or hospital should have the forms you need. Read each section very carefully and make sure your desires are stated clearly when you fill it out
For more information, or to talk with someone about advance care planning, contact the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute at:
For more information about advance directives, download Pennsylvania Advance Health Care Directive (PDF).