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What Is Advance Care Planning?

  • A series of conversations to discuss and understand wishes for end-of-life care
  • A way to document your medical wishes so those you love know what matters most to you
  • A guide for doctors and your care team to follow if you become too sick to make decisions for yourself

What Do I Want?

If you are like most people, you want your medical care to respect the way you want to live, your goals and your values. End of life is a very personal experience with a lot of medical needs. Think about what’s important to you. What gives your life meaning?

How Do I Make Sure I Get What I Want?

We don’t lose our voice in choosing the care we want because we’re unable to speak. We lose our voice when we haven’t told someone what we want. Once you have decided what you want at the end of your life, you need to choose someone to speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself. The person you name is called a Health Care Power of Attorney, or sometimes called an Agent, Surrogate or Proxy.

What do I write down and how do I share it?

Once you have decided what you want and who will speak for you, write it down and share it with the people who will be responsible for making decisions for you. Each state has its own rules and forms that you can download from the internet and complete yourself.

Advance care planning resources:

We offer a number of tools and resources to help you discuss your needs and wishes with loved ones.

Start the Conversation

Why talk about it now

An accident or serious illness can happen to anyone, at any time. Think about what might happen if you’re unable to make health care decisions for yourself. Would your loved one know what you want or have to guess? Will they wonder if they made the right decision? Talking about those possibilities now, before a medical crisis, is a gift you give to yourself and your loved ones.

Who should I talk to?

To get the kind of care you want in the event of a serious accident or illness, you need to prepare now. You will want to talk to anyone who might be asked to make medical decisions for you if you are not able to speak for yourself. That might include your doctors, family, friends or even a neighbor. Talk ahead of time, before a crisis, to make sure everyone is clear about your wishes.

How do I begin?

People often know they need to have a conversation about end-of-life planning but don’t know where to start. There are resources to help you learn what you need to know and how to start the conversation.

Advance Care Planning Resources

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order

A doctor’s written order instructing the health care team not to attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when the heart or breathing stops. A person with a DNR order will not be given CPR when this happens.

What is MOLST/POST/POLST?

Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (called MOLST in Ohio) and Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (called POST in Indiana) is a program designed to improve the quality of care patients receive at the end of life by putting patient goals for care and preferences into medical orders.

Community Impact Report

Conversations of a Lifetime was designed and launched at Hospice of Cincinnati in 2013, funded through a generous grant from bi3. This program is designed to link education and training to practice, by teaching health care workers and community members how to initiate the advance care planning process earlier in care—ahead of a crisis or end-of-life circumstance. Learn more about the impact of this program over a five-year span in the Community Impact Report.

Additional Resources

National Health Care Decisions Day is April 16

National Healthcare Decisions Day is celebrated on April 16th each year to inspire, educate and…

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Advance Care Planning 5 Questions

Use these 5 questions to check yourself. Have you and your loved one covered everything?

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Advance Care Planning Proxy Quiz

To get the kind of care you want in the event of a serious accident…

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Conversations of a Lifetime Community Impact Report

Conversations of a Lifetime was designed and launched at Hospice of Cincinnati in 2013, founded…

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Conversation Starter Kit

People often know they need to have a conversation about end-of-life planning but don’t know…

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What is Advance Care Planning?

Learn how to talk about end-of-life.

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