MyChart users can upload advance directives

Doctor holding out hand

It should be on everyone’s to-list of health care planning, and MyChart has now made advance care planning documents (advance directive documents) easily accessible for you and your family – should the time ever come when those documents are needed.

Users of the BJC/Washington University MyChart patient portal now have the option to add advance care planning documents, including those that identify a health care agent, to their MyChart account.

Advance care planning involves making decisions about the type of health care you would want if you became too sick or were unable to tell the doctor yourself. These preferences are often put into an advance directive, a legal document that goes into effect only if you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. It helps others know what type of medical care you want. You can add your advance care planning documents directly into your MyChart account so they can be found when needed.

An advance directive (also known as a health care directive or living will) allows you to express your values and desires related to end-of-life care. These fall into two categories: one having to do with instructions for medical care, and one designating a proxy, or health care agent, to make decisions for you if you are unable.

A health care agent is someone you allow to make decisions for you in case you can’t make them yourself. Usually, they can make choices about life support and more routine care, such as choosing to start, stop, or try a different treatment. You can legally designate your health care agent as your health care power of attorney. You might also hear this person called a durable power of attorney for health care or health care proxy. You can upload your form to your MyChart account. It’s also good to have a second health care agent listed in case doctors are not able to reach your first choice.

To add advance care planning documents to your MyChart account, log in at mypatientchart then go to the Advance Care Planning page found under “Menu” and “My Record.” Common documents include Advance Directives and Living Will and Power of Attorney. If you add Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining TreatmentTransportable Physician Orders for Patient Preferences, or Out-of-Hospital DNR documents, they must be signed by a physician before uploading.

If you need your physician’s signature on one or more of these documents, you can take them with you to your next physician visit. It’s a good idea to also share your wishes with loved ones, friends, and your health care agent.