Intermountain Health Experts Encourage Individuals to Plan for the Future with Advanced Directives

Published April 16, 2024

Advance Directives Help People Plan for the Future So Their Loved Ones Understand Their Wishes About Their Medical Care and Quality of Life

(PRUnderground) April 16th, 2024

Experts are often encouraging individuals to plan for emergencies. Some emergencies in life are medical, and Intermountain Health experts say having an advance directive can help individuals or their loved ones plan for future medical care and intervention.

National Healthcare Decision Day is April 16 and encourages people to create an advance directive or legal document that identifies a healthcare agent, or someone who can make medical decisions on their behalf if they are not able to make those decisions for themselves. An advance directive can also specify what type of medical intervention a person wishes to have if they cannot communicate for themselves because they are physically or mentally incapacitated.

Advance directives are not just for older individuals. Anyone over the age of 18 should have an advance directive. If you watch the news, it’s clear that accidents or serious illness can happen at any age.

“Having a conversation about your future medical care with your loved ones is a very important conversation to have, but it can be difficult to know how to start talking about such a serious topic,” said Dr. Dominic Moore, a palliative care physician and senior medical director of Homecare and Hospice at Intermountain Health.

“You can find a conversation starter guide and tips on the website the It walks you through a short questionnaire to get you thinking about your feelings toward end-of-life care and what is important to you,” he added.

Physicians who specialize in end-of life-care recommend you start having those important conversations with your loved ones ahead of time, so they are not burdened with difficult medical decisions in the future, without understanding your wishes about what values and things are important to you and your quality of life.

Advance directives can help reduce stress and anxiety for both the person who puts their wishes in writing – and they help reduce stress and anxiety for the loved ones who are faced with making medical decisions for others.

According to Dr. Moore, it’s a good idea to update advance directives annually, or if you experience one of “The Four D’s:”

  • Diagnosis – receiving a serious medical diagnosis.
  • Decline – in health.
  • Divorce – can impact who is designated to make medical decisions for a spouse.
  • Death – of the designated healthcare agent.

Advance directives can be sent to your healthcare provider via mail, email, fax or placed in your electronic medical records, so your doctors or medical providers are informed of your wishes.

People often feel it’s too early to make an advance directive, but suddenly it can be too late. Timing is everything!

For more information about advance directives and copies of the forms for the state where you live, visit the advance directives page on or

You can upload Advance Directive forms to the Intermountain Health Patient Portal online or in the Intermountain Health app which is found on either the Google Play Store or Apple App Store on your smartphone.

About Intermountain Health

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Health is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see

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