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MyDirectives®

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MyDirectives FAQs

Frequently asked questions about MyDirectives and MyDirectives for Clinicians by healthcare providers and payers, as well as their patients and members.

What is MyDirectives®?

MyDirectives® lets anyone create an advance care plan from scratch or upload an existing plan for free. Simply go to www.mydirectives.com and set up an account and create or update your personalized plan. Once complete, it is stored in the ADVault Exchange™, so it is always accessible to your medical team. If you’ve already documented your wishes in a third-party, paper-based form such as Caring Conversations®, Five Wishes®, the VA form 10-0137 (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs), or portable medical order (POLST) document, you can upload those documents into your account. The ADVault Exchange is connected to electronic health record systems, so your medical care preferences can be shared with any of your healthcare providers and payers, anytime and anywhere you need to.

What happens if I change my doctor or health plan?

Your MyDirectives account is separate from your patient portal. If you change your health plan, you still have access to your MyDirectives account and information.

What if I already have a paper advance directive?

MyDirectives allows you to upload, store, and share any existing paper documents you have in just a few short steps. Click on the green “Upload an Existing Document” button on mydirectives.com to explore this easy-to-use feature.

What is the difference between an advance directive, advance care plan, and a POLST (MOLST, MOST, etc.)?

Let us give you the nickel tour, we hope this explains the differences: 

Advance Directives

Advance directives are often very rigid, structured documents in terms of the format and requirements. Individual States, and other jurisdictions, may provide their own paper-based advance directives version. For example, the Catholic Advance Directive speaks to how organizations and jurisdictions approach the same problem but in different ways.  

Typically, advance directives include things like a:

  1. Healthcare Proxy, Durable Medical Power of Attorney, or Healthcare Agent that is someone you designate to speak for you when you can’t communicate your wishes.
  2. Living Will, which details whether you want CPR, life-sustaining treatment, artificial nutrition, and sometimes a little more.

Advance directives often require a witness or notary signature, and don't go into much detail about you. They are intended to gather only what is critical in a life-threatening health crisis or emergency. 

Personal Advance Care Plans

Personal advance care plans give you the opportunity to record more information about yourself, including:

  • healthcare preferences,
  • what is important to you to achieve a good quality of life,
  • what you want others to know about your likes, dislikes, favorite things, important thoughts, and religious or spiritual priorities,
  • who to call in case of an emergency, and
  • even your instructions for "after death" such as cremation or burial, organ donation, autopsy preferences, and other information.

A personal advance care plan informs your medical care team and caregivers about your medical goals, treatment priorities, and care preferences so they can deliver more personalized care.

Some people want them witnessed or notarized because they believe that makes them more acceptable to a medical team. But it's important to know that doctors and nurses care more about treating you in a way that is consistent with WHO you are than whether the document was witnessed or notarized.  Your medical team wants to honor your wishes and these plans help everyone do the right thing.

POST, MOLST, MOST, POLST and Other Portable Medical Orders

Portable medical orders are formal physician orders written when a person is nearing the end of their life to document delivery of life-sustaining treatment. Depending on your state, these include Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST), Medical Order for Scope of Treatment (MOST), Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST), or Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) documents.

When you work with your doctor to prepare these orders, you’ll know your medical team will have to follow that order. This includes ambulance services, emergency medical service personnel, firefighters, and anyone who responds to life-threatening emergencies and has to provide urgent treatments.   

As you approach the end of life, you may decide you don’t want specific life-sustaining measures that may cause further pain or damage. If so, you can ask your doctor to create one of these medical orders.  For example, you can have your doctor write down whether you want CPR administered. If CPR isn't appropriate because you’re still breathing and have a pulse, your physician can document whether you want:

  • "Full treatment to prolong life by all medical means,"
  • "Selected treatments that are not burdensome or invasive," or
  • "Comfort-focused treatment that maximizes comfort and relieves pain/suffering.”  

Do I use the same username and password to sign into my patient portal and MyDirectives?

You most certainly can create the same username and password as your patient portal login to match your MyDirectives login. We have found that users prefer this to avoid any confusion in the future. But you can always make them different too. The choice is yours.

How do I share MyDirectives with my providers?

You can share MyDirectives with your providers by adding them to your contact list and include a working email address. In your contact list, you’ll be able to designate them as your healthcare provider and share your plans with them via an email invite. Then they can always access your most up-to-date preferences from MyDirectives.

Can my providers find MyDirectives if I haven’t shared this information with them?

MyDirectives is connected to large health information exchanges that make your information automatically accessible to doctors and nurses connected to the ADVault Exchange. It is one of the reasons patient portal partnered with us to offer MyDirectives to you free of charge. Check with your healthcare provider to make sure they can access this information.

Who has access to MyDirectives?

We only share your medical treatment goals, preferences, and priorities with family, caregivers, and healthcare providers when there's a medical emergency. When you sign your digital advance care plan using MyDirectives, you authorize only approved healthcare providers to search and retrieve your records. Insurance companies won't have access to your answers unless you give them access.

What is a Healthcare Agent?

A healthcare agent is a person you designate in your advance care plan to make medical treatment decisions for you if you ever become too sick or injured to make or communicate those decisions for yourself.

Do I need to tell my Healthcare Agent what is in my plan?

It's important to talk to your healthcare agent about the medical treatments you would want, those you would decline, how aggressively you want to be treated, and under what circumstances. It’s also a good idea discuss how and where you want to spend your last days and what you want done with your body if you pass on. These final details are all important.

But it's just as important that your healthcare agent knows what you consider an acceptable quality of life. When your healthcare agent knows these very personal details about you, then they can make medical treatment choices that are aligned with your wishes.

Who has access to the information in MyDirectives?

We only share your medical treatment goals, preferences, and priorities with healthcare providers when there's a medical emergency. When you sign your digital advance care plan or upload your existing paper document using MyDirectives, you grant your healthcare agent(s) and contacts in “My Circle” of contacts to access to your information.

What if I start a MyDirectives plan but want to stop and think about it or talk to my family?

Option A – Go at your own pace

MyDirectives lets you take your time. You can do as much or as little at a time as you like. There's no pressure. You can always go back and complete missing sections. If you do quit without finishing, you can resume at any time by clicking on the appropriate link on the “My Dashboard” page to pick up where you left off.

Option B – Update as you need to

You can sign into your MyDirectives account at any time and change whatever you need or want to update. It's always free.  Please let us know if you have any difficulties signing in – we're here to help! 

How often should I update MyDirectives?

We recommend only making changes when you feel that they are necessary, although an annual review of your decisions is a good practice to follow. Reasons you may choose to update your MyDirectives information could be if:

  • Your phone number or any contact information for your family and friends changed.
  • Your goals, preferences, and priorities for medical treatment have changed.
  • You want to appoint a new healthcare agent(s) or change the contact information for your current healthcare agent(s).

Does my health plan know what MyDirectives says?

MyDirectives NEVER shares your advance care plan information with insurance companies.

What if I upload multiple paper documents to MyDirectives – how does my provider know which is my current plan?

When you upload existing paper documents to MyDirectives you are given the choice to replace previously uploaded documents or save a new one. You can keep as many documents active in your account as you wish.

How do I know my advance care plan is complete and accessible by providers?

If you complete a MyDirectives advance care plan, you will be prompted to sign and complete it at the end of the process. It will then be available for access by providers.

If you upload an existing paper document, there is no signature required and your document will be available once your account setup is complete.

Do I need to have my advance care plan witnessed or notarized?

Unfortunately, we can't answer this question, or we get accused of giving legal advice without a license to practice law.  Our own lawyers tell us we must recommend that you contact your state's department of health or your local bar association for information on signing requirements in your state. 

However, we can tell you, MyDirectives allows you to add witnesses and/or a notary if you want to do so.  

  1. At the end of the signature process, we ask if you want to add a witness, and you can add more than one.  
  2. You can also add witnesses or a notary from your My Dashboard
  3. Sign in to your MyDirectives account.
  4. You will be taken to your My Dashboard page.
  5. Look in the lower right corner of the blue column called Featured Options.  
  6. There will be a white link to Add Witness/Notary.
  7. Lastly, you can print your digital advance care plan, sign it in the presence of witnesses and/or a notary. Then have them sign where indicated. Scan it and upload it back to your MyDirectives account.

Why do I need to verify my identity?

MyDirectives is the state advance care plan registry and repository for certain states. Those states require us to take a few extra steps. When you encounter and complete the identity verification questions, all healthcare providers in those states can access your advance care plan document(s).

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