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What Matters in Advance Care Planning

Advance care planning involves learning about the types of decisions that need to be made if your health declines and you are unable to participate in making or communicating decisions about your healthcare. Some of these decisions are not easy to grapple with, however:

  • Making these plans ahead of time ensures your decisions are known and respected
  • It takes the responsibility for making these decisions off the shoulders of others (e.g., your loved ones who may not know what to do, and your health providers)
  • Once made, it is important to share your advance directives with both your health care team and your family so those involved know what your preferences are

Ensure your wishes are known

The goal of advance care planning is to help ensure you receive medical care that is consistent with your values, goals, and preferences during serious and chronic illness.

Even though it can be difficult, the best time to talk about advance care planning is before there is a health emergency.

Making time for discussion and reflection can often help families and loved ones understand each other’s views and wishes. Research demonstrates that advance directives result in more person-centered care, and less stress, anxiety, and depression for family members.