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How to complete advance care planning

The advance care planning process consists of the following steps: 

Step 1: Take the time to consider how your goals and values would affect the treatments you might want or not want. This is not an easy topic to talk about. We do not want to die, but we also do not want to suffer by receiving treatments that will not help us. To make an advance care plan, think about what kind of health care you want if you could not talk or write. 

What is important to you in life?

  • How do your religious beliefs affect your medical care decisions?
  • How do your cultural traditions impact your medical care decisions?
  • Would there be times when you would want to say no to a treatment?
  • Are there treatments you would want or not want? 

Discussing these questions with family and those important to you can help you explore your options and feel good about your decisions. This can be challenging. For personalized assistance in understanding your choices and sharing them with your family and healthcare professionals, contact the Advance Care Planning department closest to you.

Step 2: Select someone you can trust to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. 

When considering someone to speak for you, consider these questions first.

  • Would the person be willing to serve as your agent?
  • Can you talk to them about your health care decisions and the goals and values behind them?
  • Will your health care agent follow through with what you want even if they disagree with it?
  • Can they make the decisions in a difficult situation? 

Go to how to choose a health care agent for more information. 

Step 3: Communicate your decisions to those who need to know. 

Completing an advance directive document is an important step in advance care planning.  There are different documents available such as an advance directive, living will or durable power of attorney for health care. However, they all have the same goal of identifying the person who would speak for you and can express your health care wishes. 

To learn more, please contact:

Bemidji
Advance Care Planning Program
(218) 333-6060
acp.bemidji@sanfordhealth.org

Bismarck
Advance Care Planning Program
(701) 323-1ACP (1227)
acp.bismarck@sanfordhealth.org

Fargo
Spiritual Care
(701) 234-6980
acp.fargo@sanfordhealth.org

Sioux Falls
DeGroot Center
(605) 312-3520
acp.siouxfalls@sanfordhealth.org