Why make a plan?

To live and die well, you need to plan well.

What would be important if you or a loved one became seriously ill? Sometimes this happens over a period of time, but sometimes it happens quite quickly. Maybe you are so sick that you are unable to communicate. But there could be medical decisions that need to be made about the care you might receive, and doctors may ask your loved ones what your preferences would be. Who would speak for you? And do they know what your values and preferences are?

Dr. Daren Heyland, the creator of the Plan Well planning guide, will guide you through this website. You’ll find videos on each page showing you how to use the website to learn about serious illness decision-making and how to make a plan to get the medical care that’s right for you. Click on the arrow in the image below to watch the first video:

Often family members have a very difficult time talking about these things during a stressful time like an illness if they haven’t discussed it before. We know that these topics can be difficult to discuss – but they are important. If you think it might be difficult to have these conversations with your loved ones, you might want to watch the “Conversations” video on our Resources page to help you get started.

This planning guide was developed by Dr. Daren Heyland, a critical care physician and researcher who has been studying communication and decision-making when patients are seriously ill for more than 20 years. Our goal is to help you understand the different types of medical treatments offered, and with knowledge, help you communicate what’s important to you, so that you can share that information with your loved ones and your health care team.

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