Advance Care Planning

Feel confident that you’ll get the health care you want—even when you’re no longer able to communicate with your doctors or loved ones. Talk with your care team at Essentia Health about creating a legal document that puts your wishes in writing.

What’s Advance Care Planning?

Advance care planning is a way of insuring that your health care team and loved ones know your preferences for medical care at the end of your life. Advance care planning, often involves conversations between you and your loved ones and/or members of your health care team. During advance care planning, you’ll:

  • Learn about life-sustaining treatments
  • Discuss your values, beliefs, and preferences
  • Talk about your goals for medical treatments
  • Decide what type of treatments you do or don’t want if you’re affected by a life-limiting condition
  • Prepare legal documents called advance directives

What’s an Advance Directive?

Advance directives are legal documents that outline your decisions about end-of-life care. These documents describe your health care preferences to family, friends, and doctors so they can provide the medical care you want—even when you’re too ill or hurt to communicate your choices.

Health Care Agents

Your advance directive should also name a “health care agent”—a person who can make medical decisions for you when you can’t do it yourself. Choose someone who knows you well, is calm in a crisis, and is not afraid to ask questions and explain your wishes to doctors. Include your agent in your advance care planning discussions.

Start Advance Care Planning

To begin your advance care planning process, speak with your health care provider or call:

  • Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin - 218-786-5975
  • Central Minnesota - 218-828-7530
  • Eastern North Dakota and Western Minnesota - 701-364-4828

Essentia also offers advance care planning materials to patients via MyHealth. Info

Share Advance Directives

Give a copy of your advance directives to your doctor to add to your medical record. When advance directives are part of your medical record, your care team can quickly and easily access them when they’re needed.

You may also want to give copies of your advance directives to others involved with your care, such as family, close friends, and religious leaders.

Rules in Your State

Laws about advance directives vary by state. One state’s advance directive does not always work in another state. Learn about the rules where you live and find resources to create your advance directives below:

Minnesota

North Dakota

Wisconsin

For Catholics

Explore the Catholic Church’s teachings regarding end-of-life decision-making at Catholicendoflife.org. You’ll find general resources as well as guidance approved by the bishop or archbishop in your area.

Contact Us 

Call to learn more about advance care planning at Essentia Health.

  • Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin - 218-786-5975
  • Central Minnesota - 218-828-7530
  • Eastern North Dakota and Western Minnesota - 701-364-4828