Patient and Family Resources

Most Americans have strong feelings about how they want to die. But most also have not discussed their wishes with their doctors or loved ones. That means they may not receive the care they want at the end of their lives.

Conversations about the end of life can be difficult, but the Institute for Human Caring can help. We are working with families and caregivers to make sure that medical care reflects a patient’s personal values and preferences. This is called whole person care.

To receive whole person care, here are some things to think about:

  • What kind of medical treatment do you want?
  • Where do you want to spend your days as you near the end of your life -- at home or in a hospital?
  • What is most important to you at this time?
  • How can your family and caregivers can best support you?
  • Who would you want to speak for you if you were too ill to speak for yourself?

Advance Care Planning


Advance care planning is about making decisions about the care you would want if you were to be in an accident or become seriously ill and you were unable to speak for yourself. These decisions are made based on your values, goals and care preferences and in discussion with your loved ones and care providers.

All of us could face serious illness or injury at any age. That’s why the Institute for Human Caring believes everyone 18 and older should have an advance directive.

An advance directive provides this key information for your doctor and family:

  • It says what kind of medical treatment you want.
  • It says who can make decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself. 

Learn more about advance care planning >>


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