Advance Care Planning
Who would speak for you if you couldn't speak for yourself? It's time to plan.
At any age, a medical crisis could leave you too ill to make your own health care decisions. Advance care planning allows you to make decisions about the care you would want to receive if you become unable to speak for yourself.
Making your medical decisions known can give you peace of mind that your wishes will be respected, your health care provider will know your preference and you will lessen the burden of family and friends from having to make decisions for you.
In fact, 90% of people say that talking with their loved ones about end-of-life care is important, but only 27% have done so (Conversation Project survey 2013).
It's time to start the conversation.
Where Do I Begin?
Explore Your Choices
Learn about the types of medical decisions that might need to be made and what you would want.
Select a Health Care Proxy
Decide you will speak on your behalf if you are unable.
Put Your Wishes in Writing
Letting others know about your preferences, oftentimes through an advance directive.
What Is An Advance Directive?
An advance directive is a legal document which makes provision for your health care decisions in the event that you can't make those decisions in the future.
Advance directives is not a one time decision. It can be changed as circumstances change.
There are two main types advance directives — the "Living Will" and the "Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care."
A "living will" documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
A "healthcare power of attorney" (or "proxy" or "agent" or "surrogate") documents the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
There are also other documents that can supplement your advance directive or stand alone, such as a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate orders, organ and tissue donation, dialysis, and blood transfusions.
Get Advance Directives for Your State
If you are a UnityPoint Health patient, get more information about advance directives and health care decision making for your state.
Free Advance Care Planning Resources