Take Charge Toolkit: More about advance care planning

What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning is a process that helps you decide and document what kind of care you would want – and what kind you would not want – if you have a health crisis and are not able to communicate or make decisions. This is important for everyone who is 18 or older.

This process includes thinking about what is important to you, talking about it with those close to you (including your doctor), selecting someone to act as your representative, and completing an Advance Health Care Directive to document your decisions.

Why is it important?

If you experience a serious illness or medical emergency, you might not have the time, presence of mind, or ability to fully think through the many decisions you will need to make.

Thinking about these decisions long before you may need care gives you the time to consider your values and wishes, have meaningful conversations with those who need to know them, and take steps to make sure your desires are known and followed. Advance care planning can bring you peace of mind – and is a gift to your family and loved ones, who will know how to act in your best interest.

How do I get started?

The Take Charge Toolkit will walk you through the steps of advance care planning – step by step:

Step 1: Think about what matters most to you.
Step 2: Talk about your wishes with your family and friends.
Step 3: Choose your health care agent.
Step 4: Write it down – and share your plan.