And set the stage for healthcare that honors your wishes.

Advance care planning is the process of reflecting on your health care preferences and values and then documenting these thoughts to help guide treatments you might receive should you not be able to speak for yourself. To understand your options and make your wishes known, it's important that you communicate with loved ones and caregivers about what matters most to you.

When it comes to your health care, you can't just sit back and watch the story unfold – you need to be actively involved. It’s never quite as simple as it is in the movies. In real life, you only get one take. So write your script. Set the stage. And make sure everyone involved knows their role.

In this experience, you won’t be undertaking the actual steps of advance care planning, but you’ll learn a little bit more about it by taking a simple, six-question personality quiz that will help you think about how you would write the story of your life.



This is your story, but it’s not a one-person show. Everyone needs supporting actors and when it comes to advance care planning, the person (or people) you cast will be your health care proxy, advocating on your behalf. So select the leading candidate to play a major role in your script.

Why This Matters Your decisions about health care during times of crisis impact quality-of-life not just for you, but often for those closest to you. It’s important that you speak with your doctors and loved ones to make your wishes known and ensure that everyone understands their role should you need their help. Everybody, regardless of age or health status, should identify a health care proxy, a person you have selected to make medical decisions for you if you cannot speak for yourself.

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Is your script set in the mountains, the sea or an urban jungle? Ensemble cast or a quiet, intimate story? When faced with serious illness, you’ll need to think about the types of care you want to receive, whether it be in-home, at a hospital or in an assisted living facility. We can’t control every aspect of our lives, but with advance care planning we can face these challenges on our terms. Select the setting that feels right for your story.

Why This Matters Unfortunately, almost half of the Massachusetts population have never spoken to their loved ones about their wishes for care near the end of life. Only 15 percent have ever had a conversation with their doctor.

Everyone has their own definition of quality-of-life. Do your research, understand your options, and communicate with your doctors and supporting cast about what matters most to you. By documenting your wishes, you can ensure they will be honored.

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Every hero needs a backstory. The attributes you give your lead character help determine how the script plays out. Advance care planning is a deeply personal experience. There is no right answer, but self-reflection can help determine what approach you may take when thinking about options about serious illness care. So select the trait that best defines your character.

Why This Matters We all handle adversity in our own way. When it comes to decisions about health care, we must think about how much support we will need when making our care decisions. We also need to think about how much — or how little — treatment we would like to receive when faced with a life-limiting illness.

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To know how your character is going to rise to a challenge, you’ve got to get inside their head. It’s all about the method. In times of health-related crisis, you may be faced with any number of challenges. How you respond to them can help shape the advance care planning process and the decisions you’ll make. So select the response that would pose the greatest challenge when preparing for your role.

Why This Matters There’s no single way to approach important decisions about health care. We all arrive at the advance care planning process via different channels and experiences, be it the death of a loved one or a conversation with our doctors. So you’ll want to think about how involved and vocal you want to be in the process and how much you’ll rely on others to help you make decisions about your needs.

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No script is complete until the hero reaches that climactic moment and experiences challenges, growth, and resolution. It’s the turning point that completes our hero’s arc. Within advance care planning, the completion of an advance directive signifies the pinnacle of the process. Which of these scenes will set the stage for how you will feel when you’ve resolved your third act?

Why This Matters While an advance directive is a set of legal documents that outline who you want to speak on your behalf and the kinds of care and treatments you may or may not want, at their core, these documents revolve around what matters most to us. What are the things in life that bring you joy? What small pleasures are you not willing to live without? Responses to these important questions can help to inform your care preferences.

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You’ve done the initial legwork and plotted out your script. Now just give it a title and learn more about what your life story could look like on the silver screen.

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Your script has been optioned for production. The Last Ride is the story of a reluctant hero who must rise to meet the greatest of challenges. You’ll play the lead role and you’ve cast your spouse and children as your faithful riders who’ll support you along the way.

Looks like you’ve got the makings of an award-winner, but writing a good script involves having a plan and researching the details. When it comes to your own health and advance care planning, there are a number of resources available to help you start the process (see links below). And while it can be a daunting one, it’s imperative that we consider our options, and then document and communicate our wishes. So we’ve compiled useful resources for you all in one place.

And remember, while our lives can never be fully scripted, we can let our loved ones know what matters most to us by starting the conversation. So take the next step and write from the heart.

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Continue the Conversation

It is important to consider advance care planning when faced with serious illenss so that your wishes are made clear and honored. These resources will help you start the process.