How to plan ahead for your care

Of all the choices you make in life, among the most important could be the choices you make now about your future personal care.

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It’s important to take time, while you’re capable, to ensure your wishes guide the decisions made for your care and medical treatment if you ever become unable to make such decisions yourself.

This is what advanced care planning is about-making it clear how you wish to be cared for and giving someone you trust the authority to act on those wishes for you if the need arises in the future. Advance care planning differs from making plans for your finances, property, estate, will or funeral arrangements, but it’s just as important.

Five steps in advance care planning

Advance care planning involves thinking about your values and wishes for future health and personal care, and sharing your wishes with others. It also means deciding who will speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself. It’s a way to give loved ones the confidence to make decisions for you during a difficult time. It can be helpful to break the process down into steps.

Step 1: Think

Think about what’s right for you. What’s most important to you about your end-of-life care?

Step 2: Learn

Learn about the different medical procedures that can be offered at the end of life.

Step 3: Decide

Decide upon your substitute decision maker. Choose someone who is willing and able to speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself.

Step 4: Talk

Talk about your wishes with your substitute decision maker, loved ones and health care providers.

Step 5: Record

Record your end-of-life wishes. Write them down, record audio of you explaining them, or make a video.

Resources to support advance care planning

Education and planning for care are among the services we provide to individuals living with serious illness and their families and caregivers. Learn more about our services.

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