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Life Care Planning

What is an Advance Care Directive?

An advance care directive is a legal document that states your wishes for medical care in the event that you are not able to speak for yourself. It doesn't matter how old you are or the status of your current health. An advance care directive ensures your values and wishes are known, allowing your loved ones, or others who may be caring for you, to accurately communicate your desires so you get the care and treatmet you want.

While this may not be a comfortable topic to discuss, these types of decisions should be considered, planned and communicated with your loved ones. Key components of planning include:

  • Reflecting on your values and any personal experiences you've had that might influence future health care decisions.
  • Talking about your wishes with your loved ones.
  • Selecting someone to speak on your behalf; choosing your "agent or proxy."
  • Putting everything in writing, in order to create your advance care directive.
  • Sharing your advance care directive with your family, other important people in your life and your doctors.
  • Reviewing your plan yearly, and making adjustments as needed.

Benefits of an Advance Care Directive

  • Removes the stress from your loved ones who may have to make critical medical decisions about your care.
  • Reduces possible conflict among family members regarding your care.
  • Ensures you have a voice regarding your medical care and treatments you may or may not want, giving you and your loved ones peace of mind. 

You can get started on your own advance care directive today by using the tools and resources below. As you go through this process, remember, there are no right or wrong answers, and you can always make changes. This is about what is important to you. Start conversations, create a plan, review, and keep an open dialog with your family and doctor.  

Web Resources 

General Information

Online Advance Care Directives