Advance Care Planning

Guide for Patients & Families

Advance Care Planning is a process of planning for future medical care in case you are unable to make your own decisions. It is a continual process and not merely a document or isolated event.

Advance Care Planning assists you in preparing for a sudden unexpected illness, from which you expect to recover, as well as the dying process and ultimately death. Advance care planning is a gift to you and your family. It allows you to maintain control over how you are treated and to ensure that you experience the type of care and the type of death that you desire.
Advance care planning begins with conversations among families and other trusted individuals, such as friends, doctors, etc. The process builds trust and establishes relationships among family, close friends, health care professionals and others who will care for you or be with you as you approach death. Advance care planning permits peace of mind for you and your family by reducing uncertainty and helping to avoid confusion and conflict over your care.
View WMHT's Health Link episode with Benita Zahn on Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST).
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The advance care planning process involves the following:
  1. Learn About Advance Directives
  2. Remove Barriers
  3. Motivate Yourself
  4. Complete Your Advance Directive
    • Have a Conversation with Your Family and Health Care Provider
    • Choose the Right Health Care Agent
    • Discuss Your Values, Beliefs and What is Important to You
    • Understand Life-Sustaining Treatment
    • Share Copies of Your Completed Advance Directives
  5. Review and Update


Remember: Advance Directives apply only when you are unable to make health care decisions and speak for yourself.

Advance Care Planning Booklets

Advance Care Planning Booklets can be used to educate yourself about advance care planning, clarify your values, beliefs and goals, share your wishes with your family, and choose a spokesperson.
The Advance Care Planning Booklets available through the following links include a Health Care Proxy form and a Living Will for you to complete.

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