Medical emergencies, accidents and sudden changes in your health can happen unexpectedly. Taking the time to reflect on, discuss and share your medical preferences with loved ones, as well as your healthcare team is important—even when you are healthy.
Developing an Advance Care Plan (ACP)—also known as an advance directive or health care directive—can help empower you as you communicate your medical and personal wishes with your loved ones. It can help them honor your goals and values if they have to make medical decisions on your behalf. Most importantly, this planning can help alleviate some of the stress that they may experience and give you a piece of mind that your personal preferences and wishes will be honored.
Use our advance care planning guidebook to help you get started and assist you through the process. The guidebook will help you:
- Select the right person. Choose someone who will honor your wishes. This could be a legal guardian, spouse, adult child, close friend or others. The person you select should understand and accept the responsibility.
- Assess your values in health and in life. Determine what is important to you when it comes to your values and preferences about medical and personal issues. Considering how you would approach a difficult medical scenario can help your medical decision-maker if he or she tasked with making decisions on your behalf.
- Keep your healthcare team informed. Let your physician know who you have selected as your medical decision-maker, as well as any other relevant information, such as your values and wishes.