It can include choosing who would make care decisions for you if you cannot.
Advance Care Planning (ACP) can help you get the care that’s right for you, even if you’re unable to speak for yourself.
You might have done some other types of life planning already – such as preparing a will, saving for retirement or appointing a guardian for your child. Advance Care Planning is another type of life planning… it’s planning ahead for your future health and personal care.
We’ll take you through all the information you’ll need to complete the Think, Talk and Plan steps of Advance Care Planning. If you don’t complete all the steps at once, don’t worry. Through the process, you’ll consider some big questions, so take your time and come back to it as often as you need.
Even if you’ve already done Advance Care Planning, you should review it periodically, especially after any major life event or change in your health.
Check out the resources on our Advance Care Planning Resources page.
To take a look at the big picture of Advance Care Planning, take a look at the Why, Who and When of Advance Care Planning. It’s a great way to start getting yourself into the Advance Care Planning mindset.
After you’ve done your thinking, don’t keep those thoughts to yourself! It’s vital that the people who may be involved in your future care know about what matters most to you and who you want to speak for you if you can’t.
Whoever you’ve chosen, they need to know your values, beliefs and wishes before they can follow them. That’s why starting a conversation about Advance Care Planning is so important.
Deciding who to share your thoughts with is up to you. The most important thing is to begin. Make time and create a comfortable environment to talk with the people you trust.
“I’m not sick right now, but I want to share with you what matters most to me, and how I want to be cared for in the future.”
You could also talk about something you have seen in the news or on TV, or recent experiences of family or friends:
“I was thinking about what happened to John when he was sick. I wouldn’t want that. I would want…”
This is ok, you can move back and forth between the steps. Advance Care Planning isn’t a one-and-done process; revisiting earlier steps is a natural and common part of the process.
Just like with your family and friends, it’s important that your health-care provider knows about what matters most to you. This will help them ensure that the care you receive aligns with your wishes. You should also tell them who you have chosen as your substitute decision maker.
In this conversation you can also find out more information about your health and future health. This will help you when you are thinking about what matters most to you.
The conversation with your health-care provider may be different if you are currently healthy, or if you are living with a serious illness. If you are living with a serious illness, here’s some more information on what that conversation can include.
Production of this document has been made possible thanks to funding from Health Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.