Share The Health

Advance Care Planning - Have the Conversation


Don’t want to talk about dying? Think this whole “conversation” thing is rather morbid? Don’t worry! You’re not alone. No doubt it’s a difficult talk to have, but it is vitally important.

Many people find that beginning is the hardest part. But once you’ve had the conversation, the next steps—putting it on paper and continuing to talk—are actually pretty easy. And really important.

Visit for information about medical interventions and filling out Advance Care Planning documents. It’s a list of resources with a variety of perspectives. Browse through and select what’s most useful to you. Keep having the conversation with your loved ones, and your health care team, too. You might want to talk to more family members so that everyone’s on the same page. And it’s important to keep talking as things change over time.

You can use these legal and medical documents to write down your wishes so they can be honored when the time comes.

Advance Care Planning: A narrative that explains in your own words what’s important to include or not include in your end of life care based on the verbal conversation you have already had with your loved ones.

Advance Directive: A document that describes your preferences for care in case you are unable to make health care decisions on your own. It is also known as a living will.

Health Care Proxy: A document that identifies the person you trust to act on your behalf if you are unable to make health care decisions or communicate your wishes. (Also known as your health care agent, proxy, or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. This is probably the most important document. Make sure you have many conversations with your proxy.

When it comes to end-of-life care, one conversation can make all the difference.

For more ideas about how to get started, or to download a starter kit, visit