FAQs for Advance Care Planning
How do I find out what an Advance Care Planning document is called in my state?
When you document your wishes with Canopy, we will ask you to identify your state(s) of residence so that we can pull in the correct documents for you. To look up your state’s specific documents, we also recommend this guide from Caring Info.
I want to ensure my Advance Care Planning document is valid. How do I find out what signing requirements exist in my state?
When you document your wishes with Canopy, we will ask you to identify your state(s) of residence so that we can pull in the correct requirements for you. To look up your state’s specific signing requirements, take a look at this guide.
What kind of witnesses or patient advocate signatures do I need on my Advance Care Planning documents?
Witness and patient advocate requirements vary by state (check out our FAQ on state signing requirements for more information). With Canopy we will ask you to identify your state(s) of residence so that we can pull in the correct instructions for you. Those instructions will help you ensure your document is valid.
What is a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (DPOA-H)?
A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, commonly abbreviated as DPOA-H, is a document that identifies an individual who will be entrusted with making healthcare decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. You may also hear this person called a Medical Proxy, Health Care proxy, or Health Care Agent. Check out the rest of our FAQ to learn more about other common terms related to Advance Care Planning.
Is a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (DPOA-H) the same as a Durable Power of Attorney?
Great question. They aren’t the same. A DPOA-H only makes decisions about your healthcare. A Durable Power of Attorney makes decisions about your finances and your estate. If you want, you can assign the same person to be your Durable Power of Attorney and your DPOA-H, but you have to complete all the associated documents. You can use Canopy to appoint your DPOA-H, and with a lawyer or another online resource you can appoint your Durable Power of Attorney.
What is a Medical Proxy?
A Medical Proxy is a person who will make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself. You may hear a Medical Proxy also referred to as a Health Care Proxy, a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, or a Health Care Agent. Check out our FAQ on “How do I find out what a Medical Proxy is called in my state” to learn more. To appoint your Medical Proxy, you must complete a document called the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare.
How do I find out what a Medical Proxy is called in my state?
A Medical Proxy is a person who will make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself. You may hear a Medical Proxy also referred to as a Health Care Proxy, a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, or a Health Care Agent. To look up your state’s specific term, take a look at this guide.
What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is a written statement where you outline your wishes for your end-of-life care. You may also hear this referred to as an Advance Directive. Check out the rest of our FAQ to learn more about other common terms related to Advance Care Planning.
How will my doctor or Medical Proxy find my Advance Directive / Living Will?
After you have completed and signed your directive, you will have the option to share the document with your Medical Proxy, doctor, and other important people in your life. All you need is that person’s email address, and they will receive a secure link to access your documents.
Are my Advance Care Planning documents in Canopy set in stone or can I update them?
You can absolutely update your Advance Care Planning wishes! In fact, think of your wishes as an ongoing dialogue with yourself and your loved ones that may change over time. You can update your documents by following these steps:
Log into your Canopy account.
Click on the session you would like to update, and make your changes.
Go to the “Sign Your Legal Documents” session to sign and have your witness sign your new documents.
Share the new documents with your loved ones and healthcare providers.
Does my doctor need to sign off on my Advance Care Planning documents?
For the most part, no. Your doctor does not need to sign off on the DPOA-H or the Living Will. These are the two main types of Advance Care Planning documents that you can create with Canopy. While your doctor does not need to sign off of these documents, we encourage you to discuss your healthcare wishes with your doctor, and use them as a resource if you have questions.
If you are diagnosed with a seriousness illness or frailty, your doctor may suggest that you complete a POLST form. (That stands for: Physician's Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment). You would complete this form alongside your doctor, and they would sign it. You can learn more about the POLST form here.
When does my Advance Care Directive (ACD) get activated?
Your ACD only activates if your doctors determine that you no longer have the capacity to make decisions on your own. Sometimes it happens when a person is unconscious. Other times, a person might be conscious, but they do not have the mental capacity to understand their condition and make an informed decision. Once your doctors determine you cannot make decisions on your own, they will look to your Medical Proxy to make decisions for you.
How will my Advance Care Directive (ACD) be used once I have it in place?
By completing an Advance Care Directive, you will document your healthcare wishes and identify an individual who will advocate for your healthcare decisions if you are unable. This means that if you are in a situation where you cannot voice your healthcare wishes, your Medical Proxy will use your ACD to ensure you are receiving the care you want.
Does having an Advance Care Directive (ACD) mean doctors won’t try to save my life?
No -- having an Advance Care Directive in place is a way to ensure that you are receiving the right healthcare for you and your wishes. This varies from person to person. With an ACD, healthcare providers will not have to make assumptions about your care, and they will be able to respect your wishes.
I want my family to do this too. How do I start the conversation with them?
Advance care planning can be a tough topic to approach with your loved ones, but Canopy helps frame this as a conversation on what matters most to you. When you or your family member start using Canopy, we will guide you through step by step, starting with giving you the chance to reflect on your core values and define what optimal health means to you. With an audio coach and simple question & answer sets, Canopy makes Advance Care Planning approachable and tailored to you. You can take as much time as you need to go through all the sections. Remember that Advance Care Planning is about empowering you and your loved ones to receive the care you want. For additional resources on starting the conversation with your family, we recommend The Conversation Project, Death Over Dinner, and Common Practice.