Care Decisions

When you or a loved one is in the medical center facing a serious illness, a major operation or the end of life, sometimes difficult decisions have to be made. Often these decisions fall to a family member or close friend if the patient is unable to express his/her wishes for him/herself and has not made his/her wishes known ahead of time.

Adventist Health Glendale (AHGL) would like you to know that we're on your side. We offer several tools that can help you make end-of-life or palliative care decisions.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is specialty of medicine that focuses on improving the quality of care for patients facing serious illness. AHGL's palliative care team is made up of doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, therapists and other health care professionals who place emphasis on pain and symptom management. Together with your own primary care physician, the team provides:

  • Close communication
  • Expert management of pain and other symptoms
  • Help navigating the health care system
  • Guidance with difficult and complex treatment choices
  • Emotional and spiritual support for you and your family

To learn more, call (818) 409-8000 and ask to talk with a member of the palliative care team.

Five Wishes

Five Wishes is a living will or advanced directive that you fill out to let others know your end-of-life care decisions before you are unable to make them. Distributed by Aging with Dignity, Five Wishes meets legal requirements for advanced directives in 42 states and is useful in all 50. It lets your family and physicians know:

  • Who you want to make health care decisions for you when you can't make them.
  • The kind of medical treatment you want or don't want.
  • How comfortable you want to be.
  • How you want people to treat you.
  • What you want your loved ones to know.

To find out how you can get your free Five Wishes booklet, call (818) 409-8000.

Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

POLST is a voluntary form that helps physicians, nurses, health care facilities and emergency personnel understand and honor a person's wishes regarding life-sustaining care. It is most appropriate for patients with a serious illness and a life expectancy of a year or less. It includes patient wishes for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, antibiotic use, artificially administered nutrition and other interventions. In summary, the POLST form converts a patient's wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment into a medical order that applies in many care settings.

POLST forms are completed by health care professionals and must be signed by the patient (or legally recognized health care decision-maker) and a physician. The form remains with the patient in all care settings.

See an example of a POLST form.