An advance directive is a means of exercising control of an individual’s personal affairs in anticipation of a time when he or she may not be able to communicate them to others. Pre-planning provides individuals with an opportunity to record personal wishes for and can help to alleviate family and loved ones’ concerns over what care is appropriate. Adopting one or more advance directives can help to preserve a person’s autonomy, as well as possibly eliminating the need for legal intervention should the person become physically or mentally incapacitated.
These directives cover a variety of situations and can be adopted individually, together or only the specific ones that a person needs. They may cover financial and legal authority, medical decision-making, living wills and estate planning. This toolkit is not exhaustive, but representative of the most common and useful directives.
Adopting advance directives is often a difficult decision for individuals who have not yet considered end-of-life planning. However, such decisions should be made at the same time as executions of wills and other end-of-life documents, to ensure that the individual has sufficiently set out guidelines for the time leading up to his/her passing and not only afterward.
Part of making informed decisions also requires understanding what care options are available and under what circumstances an individual may have access to particular resources. In light of the ongoing global situation, we have provided additional resources about Colorado Crisis Standards of Care, which can inform what medical decisions may be available to particular citizens at different points of health care crisis.
Crisis Standards of Care
Read state recommendations for how the medical community should allocate scarce resources, such as ventilators and ICU beds, in the extreme case when needs exceed available resources.