Published on May 15, 2020

Essentia Health Offers Advance Care Planning Classes Online

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 to learn more about advance care planning. Upcoming classes will be held:

  • May 19 at 10:00 a.m.
  • June 3 at 11:00 a.m. 
  • June 16 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?

“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.”

At Essentia, instead of in-person visits, we are offering online classes for those interested in learning more about advance care planning and completing an advance directive. The classes are open to anyone and will provide a thought-provoking presentation to help you make your wishes known as well as:

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

Register for upcoming classes, which are free and will be conducted via Zoom, a video conferencing platform. At that link, you also can access health care directives and additional resources for your state of residence.

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 virtual video visit. You can do so at or by calling your clinic.

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