Advance Care Planning
It's Too Soon...Until It's Too Late
Advance care planning is an important process that helps you make decisions about the medical care you want and who can speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself.
Many people may not know about advance care planning and how everyone over age 18 needs to make important decisions about their future medical care. Some people may think it is only for individuals who are older, ill or at the end of their lives. The truth is that advance care planning is an important process that helps you make decisions about the medical care you want and who can speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself.
There’s a saying “It’s too soon…until it’s too late.” No matter your current health status, it’s important to consider these crucial decisions ahead of time and let your loved ones know about them. As a part of your advance care planning, you can document your decisions and preferences in an advanced directive. This legal document names your health care agent, the person you choose to speak for you and act on your behalf if you become incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. The advance directive also contains a Living Will that documents your decisions about the use of emergency treatments that can possibly keep you alive. These decisions relate to when or whether you will receive treatments such as CPR, ventilation, artificial nutrition and hydration, and pain medications.
An important reason to complete an advance directive is to make sure that your loved ones are not burdened by uncertainty when called upon to make tough decisions about your medical care. Completing an advance directive is not a complicated or expensive process. There are many online resources and tools to help you complete an advance directive.
For more information or to request an educational session through CaringMatters to increase awareness about advance directives, please contact Leigh Bluestein at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Online Advance Care Planning Resources
Five Wishes - This website offers an advance directive booklet for purchase. When complete, this advance directive document is valid in 42 states.
MyDirectives.com - This site offers digital advance care planning resources and stores documents accessible online throughout the world.
Maryland Attorney General Advance Directives - This Maryland state website provides free access to paperwork necessary to complete an advanced directive that is valid in Maryland. The site also lists contact information for the Attorney General’s office for further assistance with advance care planning.
Maryland MOLST - MOLST is a medical order relevant to an individual’s current medical condition, which clarifies future health care and treatment preferences clear for medical professionals.
Montgomery County Palliative Care and End-of-Life Coalition - This organization’s mission is to help residents in Montgomery County understand their end-of-life options and available resources, and communicate them to family and health care providers.
National Health Decisions Day - The goal of National Health Decision Day is to educate the public about the importance of advanced directives, so that more people are knowledgeable about the topic and can help educate their own communities.
Prepare for Your Care (English and Spanish) - Prepare for Your Care is a step-by-step program (available in English and Spanish) with video resources that offer guidance on questions surrounding decisions about medical care at the end-of-life.
Respecting Choices - Respecting Choices is a systematic based approach to Advanced Care, they use scientific evidence aligned with an individual’s goals and values based on discussions shared between the individual, family, and health care providers.
Speak(easy) Howard - Speak(easy) Howard is a Howard County public education initiative that helps residents think through their end-of life medical care preferences, talk about them with loved ones, and name a health care agent.
Hello Game - This interactive game aims to start conversations and express thoughts about living, dying and what matters most at the end-of-life.