What is Advance Care Planning?



What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance care planning refers to the process of making decisions about the care you would like to receive if you ever suffer an incapacitating illness or injury that prevents speaking and expressing your goals and desires for medical care and treatment.  Regardless of age or health status, all adults should consider and document their health care preferences because life is unpredictable, and there is no way to plan for unfortunate changes in health.  By documenting an Advance Directive (Advance Healthcare Directive), you can ensure that your values and goals are met in the process of providing medical care while also relieving your family and friends of the burdens of making difficult treatment decisions under life-threating medical circumstances.  For example, when family members understand that they are honoring their loved-one’s desire to discontinue life support, they are less likely to struggle with the dilemma and guilt of a life-ending decision.  One of the major goals of advance care planning is to protect the distinct personal values and goals of individuals.  Once you undertake the process of advance care planning, you should memorialize the information in a notarized legal document, such as an Advance Directive.  It is also important that you explain your values, goals, and expectations to your family and friends, and that you provide copies of these documents to your surrogate decision makers, health care providers, and hospitals.



What is an Advance Directive?

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