As patients, we should receive the highest quality of health care throughout our lives, and the key to ensuring that we receive that quality care is to document our personal goals of care and treatment preferences through advance care planning.

Advance care planning helps design a treatment plan as we move through life so that the health care professionals who treat us can match the care we receive to the care we want. Studies have shown that patients who discuss and plan for their goals of care get better, patient-centered care in the place they want it, whether it’s at home, a hospital or a nursing home. In our state, there are three advance care planning documents available: the Advance Directive, the Health Care Power of Attorney, and LaPOST.

In 2010, Louisiana lawmakers approved the LaPOST document as a mechanism to ensure that we receive the care we want in the setting we prefer when we are diagnosed with a serious, advanced illness. LaPOST translates our end-of-life wishes and goals of care into a physician’s order. This physician’s order then transfers with us across the health care system. This ensures clear communication of our wishes among all health care professionals.



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View a list of resourceful links for more information. Learn More How to Use LaPOST

The LaPOST document is specifically for patients with serious, advanced illnesses who are not expected to recover. It is completely voluntary and expresses the patient’s preferences for levels of treatment at the end of life.

The LaPOST document should be completed only after a thorough discussion between the patient and/or his/her health care representative and the patient’s physician. This conversation should focus on the patient’s condition and include information about what treatments may work, what won’t work and what is or isn’t wanted by the patient.

To become valid, the LaPOST document must be signed by either the patient or his/her personal health care representative and the patient’s physician. Once signed, the LaPOST document becomes part of the patient’s medical record and must be followed by all health care professionals – including Emergency Medical Service personnel – no matter where the patient is being treated.

Although a copy of the LaPOST document is added to the patient’s medical records, it is important that the patient keep the original document. It should be stored in a safe, easy-to-find location, and the patient’s family or health care representative should be notified of where to find the document if it is needed. Discussing End-of-Life Issues

Discussing end-of-life care is never an easy task, yet it is one of the most important conversations we can have. Without it, our loved ones may never know our wishes, and we may not receive the kind of care we want at the end of life. Having this discussion is the first step to completing the advance care planning process and ensuring that our health care wishes are honored.

There are no concrete rules for discussing our end-of-life care preferences. It’s a conversation that can take place in any location and with one person or several of our loved ones. For some, it’s easier to open the discussion by writing a letter; others prefer to discuss the subject with a physician first. It is up to us to decide how, when, where and with whom we want to have this important conversation.

The most important thing to remember is that as difficult as this conversation may be, it would be even more difficult for our loved ones to have to make those decisions for us without knowing what we would and would not have wanted.

For ideas, guidance and information about having this conversation, please review our Conversations Change Lives Toolkit in the Resources section. Religious Faiths

We recognize that this guide is not inclusive of all belief systems. We also recognize that individuals interpret religious practices in different ways. The broad descriptions contained in the resource list below are only meant to provide general guidelines and information as described by free, publicly available resources, and as such, do not always represent official doctrine or doctrine described in official faith group documents.

African Methodist Episcopal Church


There are more that 60 Baptist denominations in the United States. A large percentage of Baptists in North America are found in five bodies-the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC); National Baptist Convention (NBC); National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.; (NBCA); American Baptist Churches in the USA (ABC); and Baptist Bible Fellowship International (BBFI). The below information may not represent the beliefs of all denominations.

Southern Baptist Convention

National Baptist Convention

American Baptist Churches in the USA

Baptist Bible Fellowship International


There are several schools or traditions in Buddhism. The below information is general information.


Christian Science



Jehovah’s Witnesses


There are several branches of Judaism, the main three being Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Judaism. The below information is not intended to specifically treat these branches in a specific manner.

Latter-Day Saints



Orthodox Christian



United Church of Christ

United Methodist

Disclaimer Statement Cultural Heritages

We recognize that this guide is not inclusive of all cultural heritages. The broad descriptions contained in the resource list below are only meant to provide general guidelines and information as described by free, publicly available resources.

African American

American Indian/Native American

Arab American





Indian & South Asian Countries






  • The majority of Thai are Buddhist, with Muslims making up most of the remainder. See references for Buddhist and Muslim faiths.


Other Resources

Disclaimer Statement Resource Websites

This list provides initial resources, but does not include all that may be available. New information will be added to the site on a regular basis.

Disclaimer Statement