Have You Planned for a Serious Injury or Illness?

Advance care planning is something every adult should consider. At any age, an illness or injury could leave you unable to make your own health care decisions. Planning for the future is an important step toward making sure you receive the medical care you would want, even when others must make decisions for you.

What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance care planning involves thinking about and having conversations with your family, health care agent, doctors and others about health care decisions you could face in the future. It involves learning and considering the types of decisions that may need to be made and letting others know your wishes. From these conversations your wishes can be documented in an advance directive.

An advance directive is a legal document that goes into effect only if you are unable to speak for yourself. It helps others know what type of medical care you would want or not want. It also allows you to express your values and wishes. An advance directive is a living document and can be reviewed and updated as your situation changes.

A Health Care Agent

A health care agent is the person you choose to make your medical decisions if, in the future, you are unable to make your own. It’s best to have one person serve at a time, with an alternate, in case the first person is not available when needed.

Your health care agent should be someone you trust and who knows you well. They should be able to make decisions in difficult moments, and understand and follow your wishes. The person should also be able to ask questions of medical staff on your behalf and communicate with your family and loved ones.

Next Steps

Decisions about health care are personal. These are your decisions to make and are based on your values, beliefs, and discussions with your loved ones.

Next steps should include scheduling an appointment with an Advance Care Planning Facilitator. We offer assistance with these conversations and completing an advance directive to share with your health care provider, agent and loved ones.