Making a Plan – your “Dear Doctor” letter

Watch the video to learn how you can make your plan on this website. Dr. Heyland will show you how to make your “Dear Doctor” letter and give you some tips for thinking about what’s important to you. Click on the arrow in the middle of the picture below to start the video:


*Click CC in the play bar or C on your keyboard for subtitles/closed captions.

Before you begin:

  • We intend to use the information we collect from you on this site to help us improve this planning tool and to help you better prepare for the future.
  • Your information will be kept confidential and we will ask you to consent to have your information used for these purposes (see “Terms of Use” statement and “Privacy Policy” on the bottom of the webpage if you want more information).
  • We will ask you for your email address, and provide you with a “Plan ID password” that you can have emailed to you. That way, you can save your plan and use the ID password to come back to it later, or make changes as needed. You may want to come back to this planning tool and make changes in the future as your health and circumstances change.
  • Once you finish making your plan, you will be able to print it or download it and save it to your computer. We will also send it to your email address, in case you are not using your own computer.Discussions about serious illness, death and dying can be sensitive and difficult. They can bring up strong emotions or memories. Take the time that you need to go through this information and to document your values and preferences. You can can go back to the information on this website at any time while making your plan. Remember, to live well and die well, you need to plan well.

Let’s Begin…

Now it’s time to make your plan, or to make a plan for someone else. Remember, you are not making medical decisions today – you are thinking about what would be important to you if you were seriously ill and couldn’t speak for yourself. This plan will help your healthcare team, family and friends know what’s important to you.
You’ll be asked to answer some questions (the same questions that you answered when reading about the different types of medical treatments) and some questions about CPR (if you are considering this type of treatment). If you didn’t answer these questions before we encourage you to read through the different types of care and answer the questions before you start this section. This is important, because we want to be sure that you have the correction information you need to answer the questions in this plan.

If you are unsure about your answers, you can save your plan, go through the different parts of the website, and then come back to the questions. You can do this as many times as you like. You might also want to have a family member or friend help you. When you have finished the plan, you can save it, download it, print it and share it with your health care team, family and friends. Make sure you share it with your Substitute Decision Maker, the person who would speak for you if you couldn’t speak for yourself.

Remember: you can change your plan at any time. Life changes and so may your wishes for care. You are not making decisions today — you are thinking about what would be important to you (or someone else) during a serious illness.

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