Massachusetts Senior Care Association


Health Care Planning

Massachusetts Senior Care has partnered with Honoring Choices Massachusetts to help guide adults and families through health care planning for quality care all through their lives.

What is Health Care Planning?
Health Care Planning is a process where you choose care that’s right for you and make a health care plan to receive person-centered care. It’s both:

  • Everyday care planning with your physicians for proactive, preventative care, and 
  • Advance care planning to choose a Health Care Agent and write down the kind of care you want if you are unable to make medical decisions yourself. 

Your Health Care Plan becomes a personal roadmap for quality care that protects your rights to get the care you want, supports your family in knowing how to care for you, and helps your physicians match the best possible care to your preferences and choices.

What’s in Your Health Care Plan?
Here are the health care planning documents we use in Massachusetts to communicate our preferences and choices for care. You can start to make a plan at 18 years old, and revise and add documents over time as your health care needs change.  You choose the documents that are right for you.  A Health Care Proxy, a Personal Directive, and a Durable Power of Attorney are recommended for the best protection of your rights under Massachusetts law.

  • Massachusetts Health Care Proxy 
    You choose a trusted person, called a Health Care Agent, to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are not able to make medical decisions yourself.  This is a legal document you can complete yourself. 

  • Personal Directive or Living Will
    You give your Health Care Agent instructions and information about your preferences and choices for care.  This is a personal document, not legally binding, you can complete yourself.

  • Durable Power of Attorney
    You choose a trusted person to manage your financial matters and make financial decisions on your behalf.  This is a legal document, and is recommended you complete with an attorney.

  • Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment or MOLST
    For adults with serious or terminal illness, you talk with your clinician about the use of life-sustaining treatments and document your choices in a MOLST form.  This is a medical order you complete with your clinician.

  • Comfort Care/Do Not Resuscitate Order
    You talk with your clinician about your choice to receive comfort care measures, but not to have medical personnel attempt to restart your heart beat and breathing, if your heart beat and breathing stop. This is a medical order you complete with your clinician.

3-Step Planning Guide Helps You Make a Plan
Honoring Choices has an easy to use 3-Step Planning Guide to help you make a personal plan, or to help a loved one or friend make a plan.  The planning guide provides comprehensive information from local experts and free downloadable documents to:

  • Explore information and reflect on values and beliefs to make choices for care, 
  • Plan using Massachusetts documents to communicate your choices, and 
  • Connect to quality care by putting your plan into action to honor your choices. 

Read more at   


About Honoring Choices Massachusetts
Honoring Choices is a consumer focused, non-profit initiative to inform, empower and help adults make a health care plan and connect to care that honors their choices, all through their lives.  Our mission to help ensure all Massachusetts adults, including our most vulnerable citizens, have access to early and on-going health care planning and receive quality care that honors their choices all through their lives.