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It’s never too early to start planning for what you envision for your end-of-life care. Anyone can make a plan. In fact, it’s encouraged.

The PREPARE program will guide you through making decisions to include in your plan. Below you will also find links to documents specific to Washington state that you can complete to have your plan in writing.

Don’t worry, if you change your mind later about what you want, you can always update these forms. It’s recommended that you review these forms about every five years if you’re healthy, and more often if you are facing a serious illness.

Before you get started, be sure you know your options for care. You can also learn more from our Frequently Asked Questions and understand commonly used terms with the Glossary

It’s Time to Make Some Choices

As you read through the PREPARE program website, you will be asked to think through decisions about the kind of care you want and who will make decisions for you. This is different for everyone because it is based on individual beliefs, values and background.

Choosing a Medical Decision Maker or Health Care Agent

It is important to identify someone you trust to make decisions for you should you not be able to make health care decisions for yourself. Follow the PREPARE program website to learn more about how to choose a health care decision maker, including what decisions you want them to be responsible for in the event you are too sick to make them for yourself.

Reflect on Values and Beliefs

Make a Plan picThink about what is most important to you. Family? Friends? Religion? Living on your own? Would you prefer receiving as much life-sustaining treatment as possible?  Would you prefer limited medical treatment with a focus on quality of life and comfort? These are important questions and will shape your experience at the end of life.

Answer a few questions in the PREPARE program to learn more about reflecting on the important things in your life that will guide you to make decisions about health care options if you become seriously ill. And remember, you can always change your mind.

Spanish version of PREPARE available HERE



Complete the Forms

Download, print and complete the forms you need for your plan below. These forms are specific to Washington state. If you do not live in Washington state, contact your local hospital or health clinic to get the forms you need.

Advance Directive 

An advance directive is your oral and written instructions about your future medical care in the event you are unable to express your medical wishes. There are different parts of advance directives: a health care directive or living will, identifying a health care agent, and a personal statement of values and goals of care.

Download the Advance Directive (English)

POLST (Physicians Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment)

The POLST form summarizes your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment and translates those wishes into actual physician orders. This is a form filled out by a physician with your input about care. The POLST is intended for people currently managing a serious illness.

Read More About POLST

Share Your Wishes

Once you have made your decisions and completed your forms, be sure to share them with your loved ones and with your doctor, nurses, social workers and anyone who works with you on your medical and health care needs. Your well-thought out and personal plans are only effective if others know your wishes and can advocate for you when you are not able. Including key family members in your conversations may help alleviate conflict later.

Invite a loved one to learn more about your wishes or to talk about their wishes. Send an Invitation

Talk To Your Doctor 

Knowing what to ask is important. It is your right to have a full understanding of the care that your health care providers and you have discussed and agreed upon. The PREPARE program offers information on questions to consider asking your health care team.

Learn How To Start The Conversation