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How do I create an advance directive and how can I be sure my advance directive will be honored should that time come?

First, discuss your health care wishes with your family, health care providers, attorney, clergy, or anyone else you feel should be part of the discussion. Your doctor or attorney can help you obtain an Advance Directive form or visit www.sonoramedicalcenter.org/services-and-programs/advance-directive to download a form. Fill out as much of the form as you need in order to help your family and medical care team make the right choices for your medical care should they ever need to. POLST forms can be obtained from your doctor, from staff at Sonora Regional Medical Center or on the California POLST website at www.caPOLST.org. The form(s) needs to be signed, dated and witnessed or notarized properly. Make sure to keep the originals in a safe place that can be easily accessed by your loved ones. Provide copies to your doctors, family members and appointed agent(s). Also take a copy of the form if you are going to be admitted to a hospital or other health care facility. In addition, the advance health care directive form includes two wallet-sized cards. Complete the information on the card, keep one with you and give the other to the person most likely to be contacted in the event of an emergency. You can also register your Advance Directive with the State of California voluntary Advance Health Care Directive Registry, available on the Secretary of State website at www.sos.ca.gov/ahcdr.

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