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How to Begin Creating an Advanced Care Plan

Sara Stephens in the news!

According to the CDC, 70% of Americans have no advance care plan. Advance care planning is simply a future healthcare plan between you, your family, and healthcare agents. When a detailed plan of your desires is written out, you get the care you want, and your family gets the relief they deserve.

Not sure where to start? We’ve consulted some experts to help you take the first steps towards this important aspect of healthcare for older adults.

Appointing a Health Care Agent 

Sara Stephens is founder and CEO of Sara C. Stephen’s Medical Advocacy & Planning. Stephens is passionate about supporting her patients through life’s challenges. Stephens is also on the Board of Directors for San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital Volunteers, a nonprofit that works to improve the quality of life for patients.

Using Advance Care planning, an individual is educated about decision-making for life-threatening medical problems. Issues addressed include a patient’s cultural and spiritual beliefs as these can have direct effect on treatment options. Finally this process is important as it enables medical professionals and designated health care decision-makers to make better decisions that align with their patient’s wishes.

Choosing someone to act as your health care decision-maker is an important one. Ask yourself some

questions before you appoint the role.

Is this person willing to assume this role? Do they know you well? Are you comfortable speaking with this person and they with you? How does this person function under stress, 

and can this person function in a stressful situation in a 

hospital/medical setting? Does this person’s cultural or spiritual beliefs align with yours? If not, can they respect yours? Do they have emotional attachments to you that would prevent them from supporting your wishes?


Be sure to be objective when choosing your health care agent, as it may not always be the person closest to you.
This was taken out of a longer article published on January 8, 2016 which featured our own
Sara Stephens, RN giving advice on "How to begin creating an Advance Care Plan."