What You Should Know About Advance Care Planning

Author : Strive Health
What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance care planning is the process of thinking about and documenting your healthcare wishes in case you are not able to communicate them. This can include balancing the quality of life you want along with treatments to prolong your life, and other end-of-life wishes, like when to involve comfort care or hospice care.

Why is Advance Care Planning Important?

Advance care planning ensures that your healthcare preferences are known and followed, even if you cannot communicate them. This can help reduce stress for both you and your loved ones during a health crisis. It also ensures that your healthcare decisions are made to align with your values and beliefs.

What is a Proxy Decision Maker?

A proxy decision maker is someone you choose to make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself. This person should be someone you trust and who knows your healthcare preferences. They will work with your healthcare team to make decisions that align with your wishes.

How Do I Choose a Proxy Decision Maker?

Choosing a proxy decision maker is a major decision, and you should consider someone:

  • You trust and who knows your values and beliefs
  • Who can communicate well with your healthcare team
  • Who can make tough decisions, even if they are emotionally difficult

Once you have chosen a proxy decision maker, you should talk with them about your healthcare wishes in case you aren’t able to communicate them.


How Do I Get Started?

Advance directive forms vary by state and are widely available online. Two helpful links:

Advance care planning and choosing a proxy decision maker are important steps to make sure that your healthcare wishes are known and followed. Documenting your wishes before a medical crisis can reduce stress for yourself and your loved ones. Talk to your healthcare provider about advance care planning and how to document your wishes.

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