Published on October 06, 2020

Essentia Health is offering online advance care planning classes

Advance care planning is a process that helps you think and talk about your choices for health care in the future. It’s important for every adult to have an advance directive, also known as a living will or healthcare directive.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought advance care planning to the forefront of people’s minds. While COVID-19 can affect people of any age, it’s especially dangerous for those with underlying medical conditions and those over the age of 65. By having these conversations proactively, you can make sure that your preferences are understood if you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself due to an accident, injury or sudden illness like COVID-19.

Essentia Health is offering free, online classes via Zoom, a video conferencing platform, to learn more about advance care planning. Upcoming classes will be held:

  • Wednesday, October 14, at 1:00 p.m.
  • Monday, November 9, at 11:00 a.m.
  • Tuesday, December 8, at 11:00 a.m.

This class will discuss advance care planning and encourage you to think about:

  • Who would you want to be your health care agent, the person to speak for you?
  • What is important for you to live well?
  • What fears or worries do you have about your illness?
  • How do you want to be cared for if you become seriously ill?

You will also learn more about completing your advance directive. The classes are open to anyone and will provide a thought-provoking presentation to help you make your wishes know as well as:

  • Learn vocabulary
  • Reflect on your values
  • Explore goals for treatment
  • Take steps toward completing a healthcare directive

“Being proactive in making medical decisions allows the patient’s medical team to understand and prepare for the patient’s wishes and preferences,” said Dr. Joe Bianco, a family practice physician at Essentia Health. “Entering into these conversations with our patients helps us to honor their choices.”

Register for upcoming classes here or go to and click on the “Classes& Events” tab to register. You also can access health care directives and additional resources for your state of residence on our website.

For more information on health care directives, or to better understand the complications of COVID-19 with an underlying medical condition, please contact your primary care provider’s office to schedule a visit, in-person or virtually. You can do so at or by calling your clinic.

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