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Advance Care Planning

Team with Patient Advance Care Planning allows you to decide now about your future medical care. It is a set of directions for the kind of medical care you want if you cannot communicate your wishes in the future. You are not required to complete Advance Care Planning. However, we want you to know you have a legal right to complete such directives if you wish.

Boulder Community Health supports terminally ill patients and their loved ones in making informed health care decisions, including decisions regarding end-of-life options. We support the purpose of the Colorado End of Life Options Act, which allows adult, terminally ill patients with decisional capacity to request aid-in-dying medications from an attending physician in order to mitigate suffering and shorten a prolonged dying process.

Understanding Advance Care Planning

Good advance care planning is really an ongoing discussion about values, wishes, priorities and goals of care. It should include choosing a decision-maker who can represent you if you are unable to speak for yourself. This decision-maker is known as an agent. It may also include putting your wishes about specific treatments that you do or don’t want in writing.

Here is a guide to the process:

  1. Think about what matters to you and what your values and wishes are if you become suddenly ill or have an accident.
    Choose someone you trust to make your health care wishes known if you can’t speak for yourself. In most states, the next-of-kin would have this duty if you cannot speak for yourself. That is not the case in Colorado. This video will offer suggestions on choosing a decision-maker.
  2. Fill out a Medical Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (MDPOA) form and name your decision-maker or agent. You may want to include a second name.
  3. Meet with your decision-maker(s) to talk about your wishes, values and goals of care.
  4. If you and your healthcare provider feel it would be right for you, you may want to specify what treatments you would want using a Living Will or a Medical Scope of Treatment (MOST) form.
  5. Share copies of any of these forms with your decision-maker(s), your healthcare provider and your hospital.
  6. If you have not finished this process and you are admitted to the hospital, someone will visit you and guide you in choosing a decision-maker and in making decisions about your care

Living Will

A Living Will is a signed, dated and witnessed document you prepare to tell others what type of care you want or don’t want if you become terminally ill. You can print this Living Will form, sign it and give a copy to a hospital representative and your physician.

Medical Durable Power of Attorney

A Medical Durable Power of Attorney is a document in which you appoint someone to make health care decisions for you when you are unable to make them yourself. You can print this Medical Durable Power of Attorney form, sign it and give a copy to a hospital representative and your physician.

Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (Cpr) Directive

A Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Directive allows you or your medical proxy to refuse resuscitation (CPR) if you stop breathing or your heart stops. CPR Directive forms can be obtained from your physician or nurse.

More information can be found in this brochure - Your Right to Make Health Care Decisions.

Substitute Decision Maker (Medical Proxy)

Under Colorado law, family members and close friends can select a substitute decision maker (proxy) for you if you do not have an advance directive or a guardian, and if a doctor or a judge determines that you are unable to make medical decisions. Your spouse or parent or adult child, grandchild, brother/sister, or a close friend may be chosen as the proxy by mutual agreement.

A proxy can make decisions about all kinds of personal and medical care, and shall comply with your wishes for medical care, if known. (If your wishes are not known, the proxy is to act in your best interest.)

If any of the people entitled to choose your proxy disagree with the choice, or with the proxy’s actions, or no proxy can be agreed upon, then that person can ask the court to start a guardianship. Under Colorado’s proxy law, no member of the group has “automatic” priority. The person chosen as your proxy should be the one who knows your medical wishes the best.

Guardian

A guardian is a person appointed by a court to assist with the personal affairs of an individual who is unable to make his own decisions. The law regards a person as being unable to make personal decisions if he lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning himself. This may result from mental illness, mental retardation, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs and/or alcohol or other causes. A person who is subject to a guardianship is called a “ward.”

It is important to recognize that, other than in emergency situations, it may take several months for the appointment of a guardian.

Any person aged 21 or over, or an appropriate agency which is willing to serve, may be appointed as a guardian. Guardianship can be shared by more than one individual.

Generally, the duties of a guardian are to determine where the ward should live, to arrange for necessary care, treatment or other services for the ward, and to see that the basic daily personal needs of the ward are met, including food, clothing and shelter. A court order may allow a guardian to make medical care and treatment decisions.

Organ Donation

Any Living Will, Medical Durable Power of Attorney and CPR Directive may include a written statement indicating a decision regarding organ and tissue donation. Organ donation may also be accomplished by signing a separate document executed in accordance with the provisions of the “Uniform Anatomical Gift Act”. You should consult your health care provider for specifics. You should also notify your family of your decision to give an anatomical gift.

End of Life Options Act

The Colorado End of Life Options Act was approved by Colorado voters in 2016 to allow medical aid in dying. This means an eligible person with a terminal illness can receive a prescription for medication that they can choose to take to bring about a peaceful death. More details can be found in our Medical Aid in Dying FAQs and our policy.

BCH recognizes and supports terminally ill patients and their loved ones in making informed health care decisions, including decisions regarding the patient’s end-of-life options.

BCH supports the purpose of the Act to allow adult, terminally ill patients with decisional capacity to request aid-in-dying medications from an attending physician in order to mitigate suffering and shorten a prolonged dying process.

BCH recognizes that medical aid-in-dying medication, as described in the Act, is one option in the spectrum of options for end-of-life care. BCH is committed to informing terminally ill patients about the full range of end-of-life options, including hospice, palliative care and pain management, as well as the potential use of medical aid-in-dying medication.

BCH neither encourages nor discourages participation in medical-aid-in-dying by BCH employees, physicians, and providers. Participation is entirely voluntary. Only those employees, physicians, and providers who are willing and desire to so should participate in medical-aid-dying processes.

BCH allows individuals working at its facilities, both employees and non-employees, to participate in the following activities authorized by the Act, subject to the restrictions of this policy:

  • Perform the duties of an attending or consulting physician or mental health professional;
  • Prescribe medications under the Act;
  • Be present when a patient self-administers aid-in-dying medication, so long as not on the premises of a BCH facility; and
  • Participate in patient, family and provider support related to medical-aid-dying.

Physicians acting as attending physicians under the Act must be granted appropriate clinical privileges and comply with this Policy in order to perform medical aid-in-dying functions in a BCH facility or as a BCH employee.

BCH does not permit the ingestion or self-administration of aid-dying-medications on the premises of any BCH facility. No physician or other health care provider or BCH staff may assist any patient in the self-administration of aid-in-dying medication or dispense aid-in-dying medication as an employee of BCH or on the premises of any BCH facility.

Inquiry and discussion of a request for aid-in-dying medication is permitted during a patient’s hospitalization and in BCH clinics and other outpatient settings. Additionally, an attending physician may prescribe aid-in-dying medication in a clinic or other outpatient setting or to an inpatient, so long as all requirements of the Act and this Policy are met, and self-administration of the medication is not intended to occur on the premises of a BCH facility.

BCH will not subject any physician, provider or employee to any disciplinary action, restriction of privilege or other penalty or sanction for actions taken in good faith under the Act and in accordance with this Policy or for declining to participate in any process under the Act or this Policy.

If you have any questions, please call Boulder Community Health at 303-415-7000.

COVID-19 Vaccine Plan

Boulder Community Health offers the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. People age 16 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. You can self-schedule appointments using the free MyBCH patient portal. Learn more about our vaccination process on our general vaccine information page.

For updates related to COVID-19, please see our COVID-19 page.