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Advance Care Planning

We believe that every patient’s choices for current and future healthcare should be respected and supported. Our mission for advance care planning (ACP) is to provide an environment where each patient is able to make fully informed, thoughtful decisions regarding their current and future healthcare. Our goal is to ensure every patient has access to programs, tools, and resources to make and document those decisions, and have them respected and supported by their care team and significant others.

Advance care planning is an ongoing process of learning about the choices we each have in relation to our future medical care and how each of us would want to be treated if we were not able to speak for ourselves. Advance care planning discussions can be very different, depending on an individual’s current health.

Someone who is generally healthy should explore what kind of life-sustaining treatments they would want if suddenly they became incapacitated and their condition was not likely to improve. Someone with a chronic illness may want to think about what healthcare treatments they would choose to receive if their condition got worse. In addition, individuals facing the end of life must communicate to their loved ones what they want their final months, weeks, or days to be like.

For each of these individuals, the process is similar and includes:

  • Learning about medical treatment options and the goals for those treatments
  • Taking time to explore thoughts and feelings about lifesaving or life-sustaining treatments
  • Choosing someone to represent their choices (healthcare advocate) if they are unable to speak for themselves
  • Putting those wishes into writing

Considerations for Advance Care Planning

Regardless of current health status, ensuring that loved ones and healthcare providers are aware of your healthcare wishes is the most effective way to ensure these choices would be honored. Through several high-profile cases, recent history has revealed the private agony and public furor resulting from family and friends disagreeing upon what their loved one would have wanted. The ongoing process of conversation and documentation of your wishes serves as both a gift and protection for you and your family.

Your Advance Care Planning Team

Making important decisions now about your current and future healthcare can give both you and your family peace of mind knowing that your care team is aware of the treatment options you choose and that your loved ones will not have to make these important decisions for you. The My Choices, My Wishes® program is available to help guide your decision making. Your healthcare team may include nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and physician assistants who provide patient education, treatment, and care in collaboration with physicians in the practice. They can be a valuable resource to you as you review your options and make decisions about advance care planning.

Download My Guide to Advance Care Planning (English)

Download My Guide to Advance Care Planning (Spanish)