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Female doctor talking to elderly couple and taking notes

Advance Care Planning

Advance care planning assures your wishes are understood and communicated to healthcare professionals and your loved ones even when you aren't able to speak for yourself.

For help with advance care planning, Carle offers the Respecting Choices® program to assist patients in making informed decisions about future healthcare needs.

To get started, you may call your primary care doctor’s office to schedule a phone visit with a social worker or an advance care planning facilitator. You may also visit the Events page to find upcoming virtual advance care planning sessions.

Email us at to learn more about this free service.


Advance Care Planning: Start the conversation today

There are four important actions every adult can take to be prepared.

  1. Think. Think about your priorities, values and wishes.
  2. Share. Share your priorities, values and wishes with those you love.
  3. Choose. Choose someone you trust to speak for you should you become unable to speak for yourself.
  4. Write. Write down your wishes on paper. We recommend completing a power of attorney for healthcare. You might also choose to complete a living will.


Some of the greatest gifts you can give those you love are preparation and honest conversations. The questions below will help you focus on your priorities, values and wishes.


  • What brings meaning and happiness to your life? What brings joy or comfort?
  • What activities or hobbies are important to you?
  • Do you have spiritual or cultural activities/rituals that are important to you?


  • Have you experienced a friend or family member being seriously ill or hurt and in the hospital? What did you learn from that experience?
  • How do you make important decisions?
  • In tough times, which person in your life do you trust the most to help you through and give you advice?
  • Which person in your life do you trust to give you advice about healthcare choices?


  • What do you understand about your health status or current illness (if you have one)?
  • What questions do you have for your healthcare provider regarding your health or current illness?
  • What fears or worries do you have about your future health?
  • If your health worsens, what are your personal goals in that situation? For example, would you want to focus on living as long as possible, maintaining your current health or being comfortable without receiving aggressive treatments that may not improve your quality of life?
  • If doctors told your loved ones that your chance of recovering from an illness was very slim and you would likely never be able to communicate with people around you, what would you want your loved ones to do – continue all possible treatments no matter what or stop aggressive treatment and keep you comfortable?


Share your answers with your loved ones. They need to know your wishes in case they need to make medical decisions for you.


Choose a healthcare agent. This person should be someone you trust who can follow your wishes if you aren't able to speak for yourself. This person should be willing to accept this role knowing it could be emotionally difficult if they have to speak for you. 


Complete an advance directive to assist your loved ones and healthcare providers. We recommend completing a power of attorney for healthcare. You might also choose to complete a living will. The power of attorney for healthcare is used to name your healthcare agent and provide contact information. If illness prevents you from expressing your wishes, this document states the person you choose to speak for you.
Power of Attorney for Health Care
Living Will


Advance directive forms must be signed by an adult witness to be valid. A witness can be a neighbor or friend who is not related to you or your healthcare agent(s). A witness cannot be your healthcare agent(s), a family member, or a health care practitioner caring for you. A notary public may serve as a witness, but a notary is not required. Most banks and public libraries offer free notary services for those they serve. For more information, see the witness statement section on the Advance Directive paperwork.


Advance directives can be added to your medical record in one of these ways:

  • Upload to your MyCarle account. After signing into your account, select Advance Directives from the Health tab.
  • Mail a copy to Health Information Management at 611 W. Park St, Urbana, IL 61801, ATTN: HIM/ACP.
  • Bring a copy to your next appointment at Carle.

Click Advance Care Planning for Every Adult to download a printable version of this page.

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