Steps to take

When doing advance care planning, you should:

• Consider your own views about the last stage of life.

• Discuss these views with your family or close friends.

• Pick a substitute decision-maker who knows you well and is able and willing to speak for you if you can’t communicate. If you have no decision-maker, write down your wishes for care in an advance directive.

• Discuss your views with your doctors.

• Complete an advance directive form and give copies to your decision-maker and doctor.

• From time to time talk about this with family or friends, since personal views may change.

Source: Checklist from “Finding Your Way: A Guide for Medical Decisions Near the End of Life,” 2011 Center for Healthcare Decisions. For more advice on end-of-life planning, go to