February 13, 2019

Health Care Decision-Making

Featured Resources

On this page, you will find:

  • Resources for Consumers
  • Resources for Lawyers
  • Legislative Analysis

What's New?

Consumer Information

  • Power of Attorney Tip Sheet  Five Safeguards to Consider Adding to Any Power of  Attorney for Finances
  • Tour of State Advance Directive Registries
    This summary provides thumbnail descriptions of state advance directive registries,  as of June, 2017, based solely on a review of state law and state registry web pages.
  • Ten Legal Tips for Caregivers
    Family caregivers face a surprising mix of legal, financial, and practical issues every day. This flyer offers ten tips to help you understand and manage those issues.
  • Health Decisions Resources
    This publication provides resource links to information on thinking about and discussing your goals and values, helping you draft an advance directive, helping health care agents do their jobs well, advance directive forms, advance directive registries, and general end of life resources.
  • Making Medical Decisions for Someone Else: A How-To Guide (proxy guide)
    This publication describes in simple terms what it’s like to be a health care proxy, what to do while there’s still time to think about it, how to make the hard decisions, and where to get help.
  • Giving Someone a Power of Attorney for Your Healthcare (multi-state guide and form)
    This booklet offers a simple durable power of attorney for health care, designed to meet the legal requirements in nearly all states.
  • Consumer's Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning
    This tool kit contains a variety of self-help worksheets, suggestions, and resources. There are currently 9 tools in all, each clearly labeled and user-friendly. Tool #2 is currently under revision and Tool #10 has been replaced by the Resource List. The tool kit does not create a formal advance directive for you. Instead, it helps you do the much harder job of discovering, clarifying, and communicating what is important to you in the face of serious illness.
  • Links to State-specific Advance Directive Forms
    This page provides links to state-specific advance directive forms.
  • Sample HIPAA Right of Access Form for Family Member/Friends 
    This form allows you to direct health care providers and payers to disclose and release protected health information to whomever you name.
  • Health and Financial Decisions: Legal Tools for Preserving Personal Autonomy
    Information on powers of attorney, trusts, health care advance directives, living wills and other planning tools. 2005. Brochures are $1 each for 1-100 brochures (e.g., 50 brochures for $50) and 50 cents each for 100 + brochures.
    • Purchase hard copies
    • PDF download
    • Spanish Version: Decisiones de Salud y Monetarias (Financieras): Recursos Legales Para Mantener Sus Propios Deseos e Intereses Personals."
  • Myths and Facts About Health Care Advance Directives
    by Charlie Sabatino, Bifocal, Vol. 37, No. 1
  • Family Conversations About End-of-Life Care 
    Commission Director Charles Sabatino appeared on WAMU’s Diane Rehm radio show August 8, 2012.
  • In Your Hands: The Tools for Preserving Personal Autonomy
    Narrated by the late Helen Hayes, with an epilogue by her son, James MacArthur, this video addresses the legal aspects of planning for incapacity in a clear and positive way, and introduces four legal tools: durable powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney, living wills and trusts (1994).

 Lawyer Resources

Legislative Analysis  

Annual Summaries

Health Care Decision-Making in Clinical Settings

This research project launches a major study of how health care providers make health care decisions for patients in a clinical setting who lack capacity and have nothing in writing naming a person to make health care decisions. The research is made possible by funding from the Retirement Research Foundation. Joining the Commission in undertaking this research are the Society for Hospital Medicine and the Society for Critical Care Medicine.


Additional archived articles on Health Care Decision Making available on request. 

Reprint Requests

All ABA content is copyrighted and may be reprinted and/or reproduced by permission only. In some cases, a fee may be charged. To protect the integrity of our authors’ work, we require that articles be reprinted unedited in their entirety. To request permission to reprint or reproduce any ABA content, go to the online reprint/reproduction request form.