Do you have an advance care plan…just in case?

What kind of medical care would you want—or not want—if you were sick and could not make your own healthcare choices? 

Who would be your voice and carry out your wishes if you could not speak for yourself?

Advance care planning is all about you and your healthcare wishes. Think of it as a journey that helps you plan ahead for all the what-ifs in life.

Advance care planning means:

  • Thinking about the kind of care you would want—or not want—if you could not speak for yourself
  • Talking with your doctors and loved ones to make sure they understand your wishes and why they are important to you
  • Putting your wishes in writing so your family won’t have to guess or make difficult choices 
  • Having peace of mind knowing that you are prepared for all the healthcare what-ifs that can happen in life

What is an advance care plan?

An advance care plan is a legal document that speaks for you if you can’t speak for yourself. Sometimes it’s called an advance directive. You may want to call it your what-if plan or your just-in-case plan.

An advance care plan usually includes the following:

  • The name of the person who can speak on your behalf with your doctors (called your healthcare decision maker or healthcare proxy)
  • A list of any medical treatments or services that you do or do not want
  • Other wishes, such as wanting to be at home or in a hospital and having your family with you

My Care Forward advance care planning program

Care Forward provides easy-to-use tools and resources to help you prepare for the what-ifs in life. You can use these resources to help you talk about your healthcare wishes with your family now or, when you’re ready, to guide you through the steps for making your own advance care plan.

Advance care planning usually involves 5 steps:

Ready to take the next step?

Many states have their own advance directive forms. You can download the right form for your state by visiting A lawyer can also help, but is not required.

My Guide to Advance Care Planning

Do you have an advance care plan? This brochure provides more information about advance care planning and the 5 steps you should follow to create your own plan.

A Guide for Choosing Your Healthcare Decision Maker

Whom do you trust to make sure your advance care plan is followed? Use this guide to help you choose a healthcare decision maker (or healthcare proxy) who is right for you.

My Advance Care Planning Checklist

Use this simple checklist to keep track of your progress as you move through the 5 steps of your advance care planning journey.

A Guide for Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Advance Care Planning

What questions should you ask your healthcare provider about advance care planning? Use this guide to help you talk to your doctor about creating an advance care plan.