About Plan Well Guide

We are a comprehensive medical planning company that seeks to assist people in their life journey to and across the finish line and beyond. We aim to help people realize a high-quality and long life, support them through serious illness, help them end well, and leave a positive legacy behind.


Plan Well Guide (PWG) is a one-stop planning, coordination, resource and education platform to help people prepare for serious illness in advance.


Our vision is one of empowerment, that people can and will take charge of their lives and make preparations today that will maximize the likelihood of a good outcome when seriously ill, benefiting them and their loved ones.


Our mission is to create a world-class, person-centered, proactive planning platform that empowers people to better think and plan ahead for unexpected unfortunate events.

Our Story

Plan Well Guide was born out of my sincere interest to help people think ahead and plan ahead so that they enjoy a high-quality life and death. My name is Daren Heyland, and I am an ICU doctor and creator of Plan Well Guide.

I see how ill-prepared many people are when serious illness and injury occur. I’ve experienced first-hand how families of critically ill patients often get extremely stressed over the burden suddenly placed upon them to make life and death decisions on behalf of their loved ones.

All of this extra stress and anxiety could have been prevented by preparing in advance for serious illness.

Informed by more than 20 years of research in communication and decision-making, I developed Plan Well Guide to act as an online tool to help people think ahead and be ready to discuss with doctors their values and preferences for life-sustaining treatments if they became seriously ill.

This challenge was particularly personal. Several years ago, my mother-in-law was experiencing severe frailty. She is the reason Plan Well Guide became what it is today.

My mother-in-law’s family doctor asked her about her medical plan in the event of serious illness. At the time, I was developing new tools to help people plan for serious illness. I took this opportunity to try out these tools with my mother-in-law.

We sat together and went through the materials, and then discussed things in more detail. We came to a shared conclusion about the medical care that would be best for her at that time in her life. We informed her doctor about what we discussed.

A few weeks later, I got a request from the doctor, asking if I would consider going through this process with her other patients.

So, my wife Becky and I began the process of helping people prepare for making decisions about their medical preferences, and Plan Well Guide was born.

Since then, we’ve gone through numerous trials, testing, iterating and improving, and we now have Plan Well Guide as it is today. Our mission is to help as many people as possible be prepared for the event of serious illness.

We’ve subsequently realized that to be optimally prepared for future serious illness, there is a legal and financial dimension, not only the medical planning. We’ve used this image of a three-legged stool to communicate this point. 

Each leg represents an important component of proactive serious illness planning. Without all legs functioning, the stool doesn’t work. Without adequate medical, financial, and legal planning, a person is ill-prepared for the future when serious illness occurs. Consequently, they and their family will suffer. We aim to reduce human suffering by engaging the public in preparations and planning from a medical, legal, and financial perspective. Thus, we’ve partnered with a number of other planning professionals to help us accomplish our purpose. 

Check out our “Getting Help” page if you need assistance from some of our legal or financial partners.

3 legged stool

Our Team

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

~ Margaret Mead

Dr. Daren Heyland

Daren is a critical care physician, internationally renowned researcher, and the founder of Plan Well Guide. After years of seeing families arrive at the ICU ill-prepared to make life and death decisions on behalf of their loved ones, and his own research documenting considerable ‘medical error’s’ related to serious illness decision-making, he knew he wanted change the way we help people plan for incapacity. Over the last several years he has developed Plan Well Guide as a means of empowering people by providing them with the knowledge and communication tools to effectively collaborate with clinicians to make decisions about their medical and personal care in the future. For more on Dr. Heyland’s academic career, visit his Queen’s University webpage at https://criticalcare.queensu.ca/faculty/daren-heyland

Dr. Jeffrey Steed

VP Clinical Affairs
Dr. Jeffrey Steed was born and raised in Lethbridge AB. After completing his medical degree at the University of Calgary, Dr. Steed finished his training as a family doctor in Edmonton at the University of Alberta. Dr. Steed now practices as a family doctor in the community of Coaldale AB. During the last 5 years in practice Dr. Steed has developed an interest and passion for improving health through lifestyle modification. In his free time, Dr. Steed enjoys music, spending time with family, and competing in long distance triathlons.

Jonathan Low PhD(c)

VP Health and Wellness
When it comes to health and wellness, Jonathan is one of the most passionate people you will meet! Jonathan has 7 plus years of work experience in the corporate health and wellness space. He completed his undergraduate degree in Public Health (Epidemiology), his master's degree in Exercise Physiology and is on the tail end of finishing his PhD in Clinical Exercise Metabolism! He is an avid runner, swimmer, and cyclist and enjoys fly fishing, hiking, and is an accomplished pianist. Most of his free time is spent doing those exact things with his beautiful wife and two daughters.

Jared MacDonald

VP Operations
With a Juris Doctorate from J. Reuben Clark Law, Jared brings over 7 years of experience leading operations in both the educational and healthcare sectors. His expertise lies in organizational behavior and business development. Currently serving as the Director of People Development at Ensign Services, Jared supports over 300 skilled nursing facilities with more than 45,000 affiliated employees. Residing in Salt Lake City, Utah, Jared is not just a professional but an outdoor enthusiast. Whether hiking, biking, skiing, or exploring nature, he embraces the beauty of his surroundings.

Brandi Bailey

VP Marketing
Brandi comes to us from the ad agency world, working for over 25 years in media and communication strategy in Vancouver. Her role is to introduce Canadians to Plan Well Guide and to nurture those connections. In addition to her marketing background, she is a trained End of Life Doula, and truly appreciates the value and impact of planning conversations with loved ones.

Melissa MacGregor

Digital Specialist
Coming to us from a background in UX design, marketing, and visual design Melissa works hard behind the scenes to ensure that our user's journey through our marketing and website is the best it can be.

Ade Akinyemi

Full Stack Developer
Ade works hard as a full stack developer for the development of Plan Well Guide digital products.

Ariane Plaisance

Scientific Officer
Ariane Plaisance, an anthropologist by training, is currently finishing her PhD in Community Health at the Faculties of Medicine and Nursing Sciences at University Laval, in Quebec. She worked alongside Dr. Heyland to culturally adapt and assess the French translation of the Plan Well Guide French pamphlet and webpage.
To live well, age well, and die well, you need to Plan Well