What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning is making a plan for the care and treatment you would want if you were unable to speak for yourself. You can make your wishes known by planning in advance – before a life-threatening illness or injury happens.

People of all ages, including children, can use advance care planning. It includes:

  • Learning about the types of care and treatment available at the end of life
  • Discussing the options with your doctor and loved ones to help you decide what you want
  • Making your care decisions known to others:
  • Tell your healthcare providers, family, and friends
  • Sign legal documents that show your decisions

Why is advance care planning important?

You never know when a life-threatening illness or injury may happen, so we believe everyone should plan while they’re still able to make their own care decisions.

If you became very ill or injured, it would be stressful for you and your family to make care decisions at the hospital. It might be hard to answer these questions in the moment, and your family and friends may not know exactly what you want. This may delay treatment or cause you to get treatment you don’t want.

If you have an advance care plan before you go to the hospital, your healthcare team will be aware of your choices and can treat you as you prefer.