Advance Care Planning
If you become unable to make or communicate your treatment preferences, your medical providers will look to those close to you for guidance on care decisions. Start the conversation on advance care planning with resources from UNC Health.
What Is Advance Care Planning?
It’s important to talk about your wishes with others. Unexpected events can happen at any age. It is never too early to start a conversation about the kind of care you would want if you were in an accident or became seriously ill.
Advance care planning includes conversations and documents that help make your treatment preferences known to your family, friends, and medical providers.
Download a Guide
For more information on advance care planning, download:
Five Steps for Planning
Follow five key steps:
- Think. Think about what matters to you.
- Talk. Talk about your wishes with your family, friends, and medical providers.
- Put it in writing. Document your choices and decisions.
- Share. Share your documents with your family, friends, and medical providers.
- Review. Review your advance care plan, including any documents you created at least once a year.
What Is an Advance Directive?
An advance directive is a document you fill out to communicate your wishes for your health care in the event you become seriously ill or injured. It can name someone to make medical decisions for you when you cannot communicate your treatment preferences.
An advance directive can also make known what medical treatments you do and do not want to have if you were to have an accident or become seriously ill.
Do I Need an Advance Directive?
Anyone 18 or older benefits from completing an advance directive. You do not need a lawyer to complete an advance directive but may wish to involve a lawyer if you aren’t sure where to start or how to make documents legally effective.
If you have already completed an advance directive, bring a copy to your next appointment with your primary care provider.
Advance Directive Forms
Download and complete an advance directive document that will be valid in the state of North Carolina:
A Medical Order for Scope of Treatment (MOST) form is for people with an advanced, serious illness. It informs medical providers about specific medical treatments you do or do not want to receive at this time. You and your primary care doctor must sign it.
A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form is an order that instructs medical providers to not perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if you stop breathing or your heart stops. Your doctor must sign your DNR form.
For both forms, you must talk with your medical provider about your health and wishes before completing them.
Achieve peace of mind when it comes to your future health needs by accessing the following resources:
Prepare for Your Care, an online step-by-step guide to choosing a decision maker and thinking about your medical wishes. Available in English and Spanish.
The Conversation Project, a website dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes. Conversation starter kits available in 13 different languages.
Aging with Dignity, advance care planning resources, including Five Wishes form.
Organ donation information on joining the organ, eye, and tissue donor registry.