What is Advance Care Planning?


Advance care planning means thinking about your values and wishes for future health and personal care and sharing your wishes with others. It also means deciding who will speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself. It’s a way to give loved ones the confidence to make decisions for you during a difficult time.

There are 5 Steps to Advance Care Planning:

  • Think about what’s right for you. What’s most important to you about your end-of-life care?
  • Learn about the different medical procedures that can be offered at the end of life.
  • Choose your Substitute Decision Maker. Choose a loved one who is willing and able to speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself.
  • Talk about your wishes with your Substitute Decision Maker, loved ones and health care providers.
  • Record your end-of-life wishes – write them down, record them, or make a video. 



While you can choose whether or not to record your wishes, the most important thing about advance care planning having conversations about your future health care wishes with loved ones, and to choosing a Substitute Decision Maker – someone who will speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself. Advance care planning is a way to give those who will be required to provide consent (or refusal of consent) for your medical treatment and care the confidence to make decisions on your behalf when you are mentally incapable to do that for yourself.

Remember, your plan would only be used if you are not capable of communicating for yourself. You can also change your wishes and your Substitute Decision Maker at any time.
You may never need your advance care plan – but if you do, you’ll be glad that you have had these conversations.

Browse the Advance Care Planning FAQs

The 5 Steps to Advance Care Planning