Advance Care Planning

Making Future Health Care Decisions

Advance care planning begins by thinking about your beliefs, values and wishes regarding future health care treatment. It is about having conversations with your close family, friends and health care provider(s) so that they know the health care treatment you would agree to, or refuse, if you become incapable of expressing your own decisions.

When you write down your wishes and instructions for future health care, you are making an Advance Care Plan. An Advance Care Plan is a written summary of a capable adult’s wishes or instructions to guide a substitute decision maker if that person is asked by a physician or other health care provider to make a health care treatment decision on behalf of the adult.

Your Advance Care Plan can also include:

  • A Representation Agreement where you write your instructions and name someone to make your health and personal care decisions if you become incapable.
  • An Advance Directive with your instructions for health care that are given to your health care provider, which they must follow directly when it speaks to the care you need at the time if you become incapable.
  • An Enduring Power of Attorney where you appoint someone to make decisions about your financial affairs, business and property.

Steps to Creating Your Advance Care Plan

Step 1: Download the Advance Care Planning Guide.
The B.C. government's advance care planning guide is called My Voice: Expressing My Wishes for Future Health Care Treatment. You can use it to learn about advance care planning and also to make your own advance care plan that will serve as your voice in the future. Please note that you can select the pages to print from the document below (i.e. forms).  You do not have to print the entire document.

If you wish to order hard copies of the My Voice: Expressing My Wishes for Future Health Care Treatment guide in single or in bulk (English only), please visit Crown Publication’s website or by calling Crown Publications staff Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm Pacific Standard Time at:  Telephone: 250 387-6409 or 1 800 663-6105 (toll-free in BC). A charge for shipping and handling, plus applicable taxes will be applied to your order.

If you are an employee of a health authority, please contact your health authority’s advance care planning lead. Contact information may be available on your internal website.

Step 2: Have family conversations about your beliefs, values and wishes.
Every advance care plan starts with conversations between you and your trusted family members or friends. It may feel hard to get started, but usually the people who care about you will understand the need for these conversations.

Step 3: Decide what health care treatments you will or won’t accept, and note them in the guide.
It’s important to think about when you might want to accept life-supporting interventions — things like breathing machines, or feeding tubes. You should also think about when you might prefer not to have life support or life-prolonging interventions.

Step 4: Gather the contact information for the people who could be individually asked to be your Temporary Substitute Decision Maker (TSDM) if a health care decision is needed for you, and write it down in the guide.
If you don’t like the order of people to be asked on the Temporary Substitute Decision Maker list, or if you have many adult children, or if you would rather have your friend, not your brother for example, be asked to make health care decisions for you, then you can choose the person you want to decide for you by naming them as your Representative in a legally binding Representation Agreement, so that your health care provider can ask them instead.

Step 5: Put your Advance Care Plan in a safe, accessible place.
Your Advance Care Plan is a really important document. If you have a chronic health condition, if you engage in high-risk activities, or even if you’re just marking a significant birthday, you should have an Advance Care Plan. Make sure the people who need it, can find it, quickly. You can change your advance care plan at any time as long as you remain capable.

If you need help finding the advance care planning guide, call HealthLink BC, toll-free at 8-1-1 (dial 7-1-1 for deaf and hearing-impaired [TTY] assistance).

More Advance Care Planning Resources


Watch the video Advance Care Planning in BC:


For brochures about advance care planning, click below:

Print versions (designed to be printed double-sided and folded in):

If you are any other organization and wish to order bulk single-page brochures on advance care planning (English only), please contact the Distribution Centre Victoria by email to

Questions and Answers

Information from Health Authorities

B.C.'s regional health authorities all have some information on advance care planning. For more information, visit:


The Ministry of Justice provides additional legal information useful for your advance care planning. To learn more, see:

Dealing with the Legal Matters Related to a Death

For information on the steps to take when a death occurs and instructions for obtaining death certificates, please see:

Personal Planning Info and Services

For additional personal and advance care planning information and services, please visit: