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.

Purpose:

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

Vision:

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.

Mission:

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

Founder
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/heyland

Kaden Wood

Product Manager
Kaden works tirelessly to provide the best possible experience on our website.
He had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Daren Heyland after graduating with a degree in Computer Information Technology. He has been responsible for user experience design, development coordination, and product management.

Brandi Bailey

Marketing Strategist
Brandi comes to us from the ad agency world, working for over 20 years as a media strategist based 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 also a trained End of Life Doula, and truly appreciates the value of conversations with loved ones about values and wishes.

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.

Kathryn Perry

Communications Officer
A passionate communications professional for the last 15 years, Kathryn is currently finishing the nursing program with St. Lawrence College in Ontario. She has worked with Dr. Heyland for several years securing media opportunities with various broadcast and print outlets across Canada, raising awareness about Plan Well Guide.
To live well, age well, and die well, you need to Plan Well