Advance Care Planning

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Instructions for a Life Well-Lived

We may not be able to see into the future, but we can plan for it. When you use Advance Care Planning to document your healthcare wishes and needs, you stay in the driver’s seat for your own healthcare, no matter what happens. We provide the roadmap – you do the steering.

Paper documents illustration

North Memorial Health Advantage

  • North Memorial Health Advance Care Planning will help you write a legal document called a Healthcare Directive – also known as advance directive or living will – which contains your goals and wishes for your healthcare, and often designates a Healthcare Agent who will speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself.
  • You can schedule an appointment with one of our 90 specially trained advance care planning facilitators who will meet with you in either of our two hospitals, our primary care clinics, the North Memorial Health Cancer Center, or any of our North Memorial Health Heart & Vascular locations.
  • We have a system-wide process which makes it easy to access information and get help with completing important documents.
  • Advance Care Planning and completion of healthcare directives are associated with better customer/provider communication, greater customer satisfaction, and better wish fulfillment – plus, it eases the burden on family members to make decisions for your care.

Why is Advance Care Planning Important?

When an individual communicates their healthcare preferences/wishes:

  • There is a higher likelihood that they will be given medical care that matches their values/wishes as well as the values/wishes of their family, if they are identified in the health care directive.
  • There is reduced stress for family members in the event that difficult decisions regarding life-sustaining care must be made.

When Should Individuals Engage in Advance Care Planning

It is recommended that all people over the age of 18 engage in advance care planning, but a variety of circumstances may lead individuals to pursue formal advance care planning conversations, including:

Decade When you start a new decade of life

Divorce When you experience a family change or divorce

Diagnosis When you’re diagnosed with a serious health condition

Death Whenever you experience the death of a loved one

Decline When you experience decline of an existing health condition

What is a Health Care Agent?

A health care agent is a person who acts as the voice of a customer when the customer cannot speak for themselves. The name of this role varies by state. Some states address this role as a Durable Medical Power of Attorney or Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. It may also be called a proxy, surrogate, advocate, representative or decision maker. Health care agent is an official duty that is identified by a legal document; the document also varies by state.

Advance Care Planning Process

1. Assess Your Wishes
Advance care planning is about making your preferences known to family, loved ones and providers. Before you can share your preferences, you must understand the options and determine what your preferences really are. There are many places to learn more about how to plan for your care. Some important questions to consider include:

  • Are there any situations in which I would want to refuse or stop treatment(s)?
  • Are there therapies I would want or not want?
  • Who do I want making decisions for me in the event that I am unable to make decisions for myself?

2. Choose a Health Care Agent
A health care agent should be someone you trust to speak on your behalf should you be unable to speak for yourself. An agent does not make decisions based upon his or her own opinion, but rather based on the values and goals that have been communicated to them by the people they represent.

3. Complete Legal Documents
There are several kinds of documents that may result from advance care planning. Each document informs heath care providers about your specific wishes. The documents may vary by state, but they must be signed and may need to be witnessed or notarized in order to be considered legal. Wishes within the documents may be cancelled or changed whenever an individual chooses to do so. The documents may include a Healthcare Proxy form, Living Will, Durable Medical Power of Attorney, Advance Directive, Health Care Directive or others.

The Family's Role In Advance Care Planning

The family’s role during advance care planning is to be supportive of their loved one’s wishes and to engage in open and honest communication throughout the process. Family members should express any concerns or questions regarding the customer’s care planning choices while the customer is still able to make clear decisions and communicate freely.


Julie Borchert, MSW, LICSW
Social Worker

Maureen Tyra, MSW, LICSW
Coordinator, Advance Care Planning

Groups & Classes

Get the support and education you need to live your best life. Consider this care beyond the clinic walls.

Get Started

Complete the correct form below to begin creating your advance care plan. Forms are available in multiple languages for your convenience.

Honoring Choices Healthcare Directive – English
Honoring Choices Healthcare Directive – Hmong
Honoring Choices Healthcare Directive – Russian
Honoring Choices Healthcare Directive – Somali
Honoring Choices Healthcare Directive – Spanish


For more information about Advance Care Planning assistance and resources, call us at 763-581-8282.