In Massachusetts, all patients with serious advancing illness have a legal right to receive information about their medical conditions, their likely outcome (“prognosis”), and their full range of options for care. This enables patients or their advocates to make informed decisions about healthcare choices that reflect each person’s goals, values, wishes, and needs. This guide outlines the types of choices that patients have when they’re going through treatment for a serious, life-limiting illness.
Although it can be difficult to think about future healthcare choices – especially when an illness is stable and symptoms are manageable – there is much wisdom in talking with your loved ones and your healthcare providers when you are feeling strong and can make your wishes clearly known. The topics described in this document– Advance Care Planning, Palliative Care, Hospice Care, and Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) are important to discuss with your healthcare providers, along with your family and others in your support system.*
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*The information above was created by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to support patients and their family members with important information about healthcare choices, especially when facing a serious illness.