Advance Care Planning

We at Gilchrist help patients and families through difficult conversations every day, including advance care planning. We provide advice and assistance documenting your healthcare wishes.

It Starts With A Conversation

April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), an annual initiative to inspire, educate and empower people and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD exists to encourage everyone to express their healthcare wishes and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. 

Healthcare decision making is important for us all, even those who are relatively young and healthy. The COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder that serious illness can affect anyone, any time. Thinking through your health care wishes and documenting them in advance is one of the most important things you can do—not only for yourself but for your loved ones. 

Advance Care Planning Information

Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions as well as a list of resources for more information.

What Is Healthcare Decision Making?

Healthcare decision making, also known as advance care planning, refers to making plans in advance for deciding how you want to be cared for if you are no longer able to make medical decisions. 

Why Is Healthcare Decision Making Important? 

Imagine you had a stroke, an accident or a sudden serious illness that leaves you incapable of making medical decisions. Without an advance directive, doctors will either make these decisions for you or, in the best case, look to your family to make them. Would your family know your wishes? Or would they struggle with the weight of these decisions—perhaps even long after the decision is made? 

By thinking about your wishes now and documenting them, you will free your family from the burden of having to make these difficult decisions in the event that you are no longer able. It will help eliminate disagreement between your loved ones and lessen worry, guilt and regret. 

Resources To Help You Get Started – Other Websites That May Be of Help

MyDirectives helps you create your own digital advance care plan or upload any advance directive, advance care plan or portable medical order you already have.

A portable and enduring medical order form covering options for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other life-sustaining treatments.

The nation’s only national advance care planning program. Providing peace-of-mind for more than 25 years.

Please return this form to your provider via email, fax, or mail.

Help everyone talk about their wishes for care through the end of life, so those wishes can be understood and respected.

An advance directive allows you to decide who you want to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. You can also use it to say 

Helping every adult in Howard County to name their health care agent and talk about their medical care preferences.

Decision-making at the end of life is not as straightforward as you might imagine. Read what you should know about end-of-life health care decision-making.

If you are looking for additional help about Advanced Care Planning, please contact us.