This Valentine's Day, consider foregoing jewelry, chocolate and flowers for a gift with a different kind of value: an advance care plan. Advance care planning offers the gift of peace of mind. It is a unique but important way to give the people in your life the comfort of knowing that you'll be cared for during life's pivotal moments, compassionately and respectfully.
Advance care planning, which includes creating an advance directive or living will, is a process that defines your goals and wishes as they relate to health care. An advance care plan will:
- Require answering important questions about your desired quality of life
- Help you decide whom you'd like to designate as your health care surrogate and more
- Provide vital information to clinicians and loved ones if you are unable to communicate for yourself
The gift of peace of mind: Starting an advance care plan conversation
"Conversations about health care decisions and end-of-life care can be seen as sad, difficult or uncomfortable, but these are important and necessary conversations to have and—ultimately—the people that benefit the most from having an advance care plan are the people you love," says Brian Duke, system director of senior services at Main Line Health. "An advance care plan ensures that you get the medical care you want should you become unable to speak for yourself, and it relieves your family and friends of the burden of guessing what your wishes are."
Main Line Health's 'Your Life. Your Way.' advance care planning kit aims to make discussions around advance care planning easier to have. This free kit is available for download online, and can help guide conversations between you and your loved ones about the critical decisions involved in end-of-life care.
Ready to talk about advance care planning?
We can help you start the conversation. Download one—or all four!—of our Valentine's Day cards (PDF) to help you let your loved ones know that advance care planning is an important and meaningful gift for you.