LGBTQ+ Advance Care Planning TOOLKIT

A step-by-step guide for the LGBTQ+ community in preparing for healthcare needs and end-of-life decisions

Advance care planning is preparing for your future healthcare and life decisions. It is the ongoing process of making your wishes and values known to your providers and caregivers. Think of it as a gift to loved ones to do this work before a crisis or health change. If you do not make your preferences known, your providers and loved ones are left to make tough decisions without knowing what you’d really want. That hole in communication could result in extended intensive treatments or more limits on your care.

This is a toolkit to empower LGBTQ+ people who may face specific challenges in the legal and healthcare systems. You may need extra protections in advance care planning to ensure dignity and avoid conflict or discrimination. Inside this toolkit you’ll find a step-by-step guide to help think and talk about your wishes and plan for healthcare decisions.

This toolkit will also review tips for LGBTQ+ people who have advanced illness, including information on palliative and supportive care, caregiver advice, and healthcare resources. Lastly, this toolkit reviews hospice services, memorial and burial options, and bereavement support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Current resources for advance care planning do not serve the LGBTQ+ community sufficiently.  Research suggests that loneliness, responsibilities, and sharing personal information — such as sexual orientation, gender identity, and sensitive health issues — make it difficult for LGBTQ+ people to do advance care planning. This toolkit aims to make the advance care planning process easy, approachable, and relevant to LGBTQ+ issues by creating a checklist of helpful documents to complete, conversations to have, and decisions to consider. 

This document is not intended as individualized healthcare or legal advice. This is general guidance, and your state has specific instructions about how these advance care planning documents should be completed. You should consult a local healthcare provider, community leader, and lawyer for personalized advice that includes consideration of your religious, cultural, ethnic, economic, and racial identities. There is information in this guide on pages 7 and 9 about how to find trusted LGBTQ+-experienced professionals.

Compassion & Choices
8156 S Wadsworth Blvd #E-162
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VICTORY: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the improved End-of-Life Options Act.