Make health care choices in advance

The gift of being prepared

Your personal values, preferences and beliefs should always guide decisions about your medical treatment. But a sudden accident or illness could keep you from making those wishes known.

By planning ahead, you can guide future health care decisions even if you are unable to speak for yourself. Thoughtfully considering and documenting your wishes in an Advance Care Plan can minimize confusion and uncertainty and give peace of mind to loved ones.

Who needs an Advance Care Plan?

Every adult should have a plan that’s properly documented and saved–before they need it. And it should be reviewed and updated periodically.

What is included?

A formal plan has three specific steps to ensure your wishes are both known and respected.

1. Choose your advocate.

Your advocate is the person you trust to make care decisions. This person only speaks for you if you cannot speak for yourself.

2. Capture your preferences in an Advance Directive.

An advance directive provides documentation of your choices. It outlines what is important to you, relieving others of the burden of not knowing.

3. Communicate your wishes.

Make sure your plan is available and:

  • Keep a copy in your home
  • Provide a copy to your advocate
  • Share it with your physician(s) and your medical team

You may also register your Advance Directive documents to the Community Health Record - a secure repository where providers across the state can access your plan if needed.

Who can help me?

There are many resources available to help ensure your plans are properly completed and readily available. Health care network websites are excellent sources of advance care planning assistance.

Examples include:

The Michigan Health Information Network (MiHIN) provides:

  • Free materials and trained facilitators to help guide your care planning conversations and documentation
  • Plan registration in the Community Health Record

Community resources:

  • Elder care attorneys
  • Faith-based organizations

If there are concerns about your directive not being followed

If you signed an advance directive and believe that a doctor or hospital hasn't followed your instructions, you may file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Community Health Bureau of Health Professions Allegations Section at 800.882.6006.