The choice is yours.

Advance Care Planning is about matching the care we provide to your preferences and priorities. Are you someone who prioritizes more time, even if this requires you to be in an Intensive Care Unit or are you someone who prioritizes comfort, familiarity of surroundings and being surrounded by those you love? Most of us fit somewhere in the middle – we want the best possible quality of life, for as long as we can without having to endure painful treatments or life-support. Clearly, this is not a one-size-fits all decision!

No one wants to think about a future that involves our own frailty, infirmity, dying, or death, even though we all know it’s going to happen one day. Working on an Advance Directive lets you be in control. You have the power to make your own choices now about your future health care, including end-of-life care. The choice is yours. Advance care planning is a process that helps you decide what care you want or would not want if you are unable to communicate for yourself.

Start your Advance Directive today.

Getting Started

Below, find an Advance Care Planning Toolkit and an Advance Instruction for Mental Health to complete for your future.

If you are interested in becoming a facilitator for advance care planning, please download this information packet and follow the registration instructions.

The Steps

The process is ideally completed while you are well, and not in a crisis as this allows you to thoughtfully consider your values and treatment preferences, so that these align. If your choices for future health care are known, they can be honored. This guide will walk you through the process of completing your advance care plan, step by step.

The important first step is thinking about what matters most to you and how that might influence future health care decisions. Consider these questions and make note of your answers to help you in the next steps.

  • What gives your life value, meaning and purpose?
  • What does “quality of life” mean to you?
  • What would you miss most if you couldn’t walk, talk, eat or think normally?
  • What would you be willing to give up or tolerate in order to keep what matters most to you?
  • Have you or anyone else you know had a good or a bad health care experience?
  • Has anyone close to you died? Do you think their death was a “good” death or “bad” death? Why?
  • Do you have a medical condition that may get worse, and how will this affect your quality of life?
  • Are you having medical treatments that affect your quality of life? What medical problems do you think you might have in the future?
  • Who would you want to speak for you about health care decisions if you could not communicate for yourself?

Having a conversation with your health care provider(s) is a great place to start. They can help you understand your current health and what treatments or interventions you might need in the future. They can also provide information about the potential outcomes of treatment to consider in deciding if you would want certain treatments if this meant you might not return to your previous quality of life.

Discuss your thoughts with your family, friends or those closest to you. Close loving relationships don’t necessarily mean they know or understand what matters most to you or your preferences for future health care. These choices should be talked about with the people who would most likely be involved in making decisions on your behalf.

Now that you have thought about and discussed your choices with your health care provider(s) and your family or loved ones, you are ready to complete an Advance Directive. Advance Directives may include any or all of the following:

Congratulations! Now that you have completed your Advance Directives, you will need to share the completed documents with your health care provider(s) and your family or those closest to you so they can act upon your instructions should you ever be unable to communicate your choices for yourself. Be sure to have conversations with your family and those closest to you. Some families can accomplish this in one conversation, others will require more. There is no right or wrong way to have these conversations.

Lastly, review your documents periodically, at least once a year, and also if your health status changes to assure these documents reflect your current preferences. Looking back over your Advance Directives periodically is very important. People’s thoughts, perspectives and viewpoints can change or evolve over time. A good rule of thumb is to re-examine your Advance Directive with major life changes (marriage, birth of a child, significant illness, divorce, death of a family member, etc.) or at least annually. Remember to review any updates to your advance directive with your health care provider(s) and those closest to you.


Advance Care Education

Let's Talk: The Choice is Yours

Let's Talk: The Choice is Yours