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

    Legal document in which you choose your Health Care Agent to make health care decisions on your behalf, if you are unable to make health care decisions yourself.

  • Personal Directive or Living Will

    Personal document, not legally binding, to give your Health Care Agent instructions and information about the kind of care you want.

  • Durable Power of Attorney

    A legal document in which you choose a trusted person to make financial decisions on your behalf, if you are unable to make financial decisions yourself.

  • Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment or MOLST

    Medical order and form for adults with serious advancing illness to document their choices about life-sustaining treatments.

  • Comfort Care/Do Not Resuscitate Order

    Medical order and form to document 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.

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.


Where Can I Find More Information?

Honoring Choices Massachusetts

Hospice and Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts

Massachusetts Medical Society

Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care

Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST)

The Conversation Project