Easy to Use California Advance Health Care Directive
This easy-to-read and easy-to-understand advance health care directive form was created for everyone, but in particular the 90 million American adults who are unable to read above a fifth grade reading level, many of whom struggle to understand the complex legal documents that are typically used to express how they want their health care handled if they become very sick. This form was developed by Rebecca Sudore, M.D., a physician at the University of California at San Francisco, in cooperation with the San Francisco General Hospital and the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
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The California Advance Health Care Directive may be downloaded for free in PDF format and printed for personal use. They may also be ordered in bulk from the publisher by contacting IHA at (800) 434-4633, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(NOTE TO USERS IN OTHER STATES: While this document has been approved for use in California, it may not meet the requirements of other states. You are free to use this document in your state but are strongly cautioned to consult an authority familiar with the regulations in your state to see if this document meets those regulations.)
"Most advance directive forms are written at a post-graduate reading level. These forms are often intimidating and hard to understand, even for those who have adequate reading skills. You can imagine how much more intimidating advance directives might be for those with limited reading skills. In addition, it may be much more difficult for those with limited reading skills to make informed decisions about their health care." said Dr. Sudore. "The Terri Schiavo case brought the need to think ahead about one's medical wishes to the forefront. We hope that access to this document will help people of all reading levels to be able to make informed decisions about their wishes for health care."
According to Dr. Sudore, the content of the form was developed after extensive testing with adults of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. It is a very simple, fill-in-the-blank document that is written in "bullet-point" style and accompanied by illustrations. The form is divided into three parts: (1) Choose a health care agent who can make medical decisions for you if you are too sick to make them yourself; (2) Make your own health care choices now so those who care for you won't have to guess what you want if you are too sick to tell them yourself; and (3) Necessary signatures that make the document legally binding.