A gray-haired man walks with his arm around a younger man's shoulder.

Give the gift of Life Care Planning

APR 11, 2017
  • Share this:

It’s a sad fact that unexpected accidents happen every day. That’s why it’s important to know who would speak for you if you were ever unable to communicate your health care wishes. Choosing that person carefully and making sure they know what you’d want can take an enormous burden off of your loved ones. It could also help make sure that no matter what happens, your wishes will be respected.


It can be challenging to consider and plan for such things. Many people find Life Care Planning offers the help they need.


The basics of Life Care Planning


Life Care Planning is a process of reflection and conversation about what’s really important to you. It leads to the creation of a document called an Advance Health Care Directive. In this document, also known as an advance directive, you name who you want to be your health care agent (or decision-maker). You also cover what you’d want those future health care decisions to be.


During the life care planning process, you’d think about:


  • Who you want to choose as your health care agent
  • What you think makes life worth living
  • What preferences you have about life-sustaining treatment(s)


How Life Care Planning can help you


“Important health decisions should be made in a timely manner by someone who knows you and cares for you, not by a distant relative or judge. Sharing your values with an advocate ensures that your voice is at the center of your care,” says Dr. Susan Wang, physician lead for Kaiser Permanente Life Care Planning in Southern California.


If your loved ones ever have to make health care decisions on your behalf, the advance directive you get from Life Care Planning will take away the guesswork. Consulting your Advance Directive will give them confidence that they’re caring for you according to your wishes.


What Life Care Planning has meant to people like you


“[Life Care Planning] is extremely important,” says a Life Care Planning participant, “and it’s a process. For me, it wasn’t something I could do quickly. There are a lot of things that go into planning, things to consider, and conversations to have with your loved ones and your doctor.”


One participant feels that making her plan was a gift to her family.


“More than anything,” says the woman, “I want to be prepared, and not have my children or my husband struggling with knowing what to do. I prefer to have everything in writing and leave everything prepared — not leave the difficult decisions to my family.”


Find out how to get started


It’s important to start these conversations with your loved ones when you’re healthy, then continue to revisit them as you go through life. An advance directive is designed to change along with your preferences throughout the years. So even after making your first advance directive, it’s a good idea to revisit Life Care Planning down the line.


To get started with Life Care Planning, visit kp.org/lifecareplan, where you can view videos, download step-by-step guides, and more.

TOPICSadvance directivehealth care agentlife care planning