A grandmother at the beach with her children and grandchildren, all smiling at the camera.

Advance Care Planning

Helping you take control of your future care

Advance Care Planning

Helping you take control of your future care

Advance Care Planning Main Content

Do your family and health care providers know your preferences if an illness or injury left you unable to make your own decisions?

For all adults age 18 and older, it’s important for you to talk with your family and health care professionals about your medical preferences and goals of care. This is called advance care planning. At Baptist Health, we encourage you to start having these conversations now.

Advance Care Planning Additional Content Section 1

What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance Care Planning (ACP) is a process of understanding, reflecting on and discussing your experiences, values and beliefs in an effort to identify how you want to live if faced with a serious or life-limiting illness. It may include your care preferences if a chronic illness gets worse. It may include identifying the care you would want at the end of your life. It is also important to choose someone to speak on your behalf if you are unable to make your own decisions.

ACP is a discussion.
It is a conversation to understand your beliefs, values and experiences. This helps us know how to best treat you in case of a sudden injury (like a car accident) or a sudden illness (like a stroke) if you could not speak for yourself.

ACP means being prepared.
It is for every adult. A serious injury or sudden change in your health can cause a medical crisis. Advance Care Planning can prevent a crisis of medical decision-making for you or your family.

ACP is limited.
It speaks for you during circumstances you define, such as when you cannot speak for yourself.

ACP can involve filling out documents.
They are called advance directives. It can be added to your medical record so your care providers can understand and honor your wishes.

ACP is a part of good care.
You can decide when completing an advance directive is right for you.

VIDEO: Advance Care Planning

Dr. Cynthia Anderson, radiation oncologist at Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center, explains why Advance Care Planning is an important part of your health care experience.

Information Sessions

Introduction to Advance Care Planning

An online class introducing you to advance care planning

Baptist Health Virtual Class

Advance Care Planning Additional Content Section 2

What is a Health Care Advance Directive?

Having a living will and naming a health care surrogate are ways to ensure you have control over your treatment even when you cannot speak for yourself.

Health Care Advance Directives are a set of documents that help define your goals for care and name medical decision makers. At Baptist Health, we ask all of our patients to think about two types of Advance Directive documents:

  • Health Care Surrogate (HCS): A document that identifies a person to speak for you and make decisions about your treatment based on your desires, values and beliefs.
  • Living Will (LW): A document for writing down your goals, values and care preferences.


An african-american couple in their 30s sitting on a sofa of their home reading an advance directive document.

Related Articles, Locations, or Other Information