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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.
Advance care planning is a process that helps you think and talk about your choices for health care in the future. It is important for every adult to have an advance directive, which is also known as a health care directive or living will. This written plan allows loved ones and health care providers to follow your wishes if an accident or illness makes you unable to speak for yourself.
Advance care planning visits help you to:
Recording your wishes in writing is the best way to make sure your health care team and loved ones will be able to honor your wishes if you can't speak for yourself. A health care directive (advance directive) is a written legal document in which a person states goals, values and beliefs about health care treatment decisions, including who should make those decisions, in the event a person can no longer make those decisions for him/herself.
It is important to choose a “health care agent”—the person you would want to be your advocate if you are unable to speak for yourself. Choose someone who is willing to accept the responsibility, 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.
To begin your advance care planning process:
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:
Keep the original copy of your signed and completed health care directive in an easily accessible and safe place at home. Give copies to your:
You can also add your directive to your medical record by sending it to our Health Information Services department.
There are a few different ways to send it:
Contact us at:
Essentia also offers advance care planning materials to patients via MyHealth.
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.