Valley Medical Group is committed to supporting and educating our patients
as they consider end-of-life options for health care.
We encourage you to think ahead about your future healthcare wishes. Do you know about the various choices available: palliative care, hospice care, the ability to document which treatments you would want in the event of life-threatening illness? If you should be unable to speak for yourself, have you chosen who will speak for you, and do they know your wishes? Please read below for more information and bring your questions to your next appointment.
All adults are encouraged to fill out a Health Care Proxy form. This legal document allows you to name the person(s) you want to make health care decisions for you if, and only if, you are unable to speak for yourself. This form gives no one any authority if you can speak for yourself. VMG encourages you to sit down with family members or a trusted friend to discuss what your preferences would be, and then choose someone to be your health care agent to carry out your wishes if needed.
Please click on this link to watch a short, fun video about choosing a health care agent:
You may obtain this form at VMG or download it in English and 13 other languages at: Honoring Choices. You may fill this form out at VMG or at home with two witnesses who are not your agents. When your health care proxy form is complete, please bring it to VMG to be included in your medical record.
Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) is a medical document which outlines your instructions about specific forms of life-sustaining treatments. You and your primary care provider sign this form together after thorough discussion. The MOLST is intended for those of more advanced age or with serious illness. You may complete this form at VMG.
Medical orders, like the MOLST, which communicate instructions between health professionals, must be filled out and signed by the provider and patient on the English version to be valid.
When you and your provider have discussed and signed this form, it will be included in your medical record at VMG. Please note: It takes effect immediately but can be changed at any time. It gives specific instructions to your providers and caregivers about what your wishes are if you are unable to speak for yourself. If you choose not to complete the MOLST, and you lose the ability to communicate your wishes, your clinician will assume the decision-making role with input from your family.
VMG encourages you to discuss your advance care planning questions, concerns and preferences with your primary care provider. Should you wish to make an appointment to review advance care planning, please call your health center and request an ACP appointment. This will insure you are scheduled enough time for a thorough discussion. We encourage you to bring a family member or your health care agent to join you at this appointment.
VMG supports the work of The Conversation Project at: The Conversation Project which provides valuable resources and assistance in helping people initiate and engage in these conversations. This site can help put many issues into perspective and help families learn how to begin to share their thoughts and questions. The “What Matters to Me” workbook may help you with this process. It can be downloaded here: What Matters to Me Workbook
Massachusetts does not recognize living wills or advance directives as binding documents. However, these documents can be useful because they guide the health care agent and physicians about the choices a patient has made.
As long as the patient can voice their wishes, those will be honored. If not, the health care agent is the decider and will be encouraged to follow the patient’s written preferences.
If you are interested in understanding more about the realities of CPR, please clink on this link for the New Yorker article “The Hidden Harms of CPR”.
Your provider may talk with you about various options for specialized home care:
Palliative care is specialized medical care to help patients optimize quality of life in the setting of serious illness. It can be provided along with curative treatment.
Hospice care prioritizes comfort and quality of life by reducing pain and suffering once efforts to cure an illness are no longer the goal.
What’s the difference between
Palliative Care and Hospice Care?
At Valley Medical Group, we are honored to be part of your health care team and look forward to supporting and guiding you as needed through all your health care decisions.