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Conversations with your Physician

Conversations with your physician about your care choices can start at any time, regardless of your health status. You can begin the discussion when you give him or her a copy of your health care proxy. Your physician should always have a copy of your advance directive.

Make clear the kind of care you would want if you have a serious illness or unexpected event from which you might not fully recover (for example, a massive stroke, a major heart attack, or a serious brain injury). You may want to discuss if certain procedures are likely to lead to recovery or prolong the process of dying.

Ask your physician’s advice about the need and timing of more in-depth discussions or more detailed advance directives. This discussion may be appropriate if you are elderly and want to define your preferences for care in more detail even if you do not currently have a serious illness. It is always a good idea to tell your doctor about your end-of-life choices.

When you have appointed a health care agent, or if you make a change in your health care proxy, make sure you tell your physician and give him or her the new copy.

Learn more about having the conversation with your physician.