Know your choices, share your wishes
Whether you're healthy or have an ongoing or serious illness, it's important to think about what your health care choices would be if you become unable to speak for yourself.
Advance care planning / life care planning
Spend some time thinking about your values, your spiritual beliefs, the type of care you'd prefer to receive, what being independent means to you, your view of dying, who should take care of you, whether you'd like to donate organs, and funeral preferences. Write down your choices in an advance directive.
Your advance directive should be copied and shared with your doctor, attorney, caregiver, and family/friends. Keep it in a safe, easy-to-find place, and review it from time to time for changes in your medical conditions, living situation, and preferences.
For more information
Most Kaiser Permanente facilities offer classes on advance directives, life care planning and end-of-life decision making. View our health classes directory to find a class near you.
If you have questions about advance care planning, email your doctor or talk to him or her at your next visit.
Reviewed by Tracy Lippard, MD, July 2019