Advance Care Planning

What Is Advance Care Planning?  • Your Care, Your Choices • Coming Full Circle: Planni​​​ng for Your Care •  Personal Stories • For Health Professionals

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What Is Advance Care Pl​​anning?

Advanced Care Planning is the process that helps you prepare for your future health care at any age of your life. It’s about thinking about what matters to you (your values, goals, traditional practices and health care wishes) and sharing it with your family, loved ones and health care providers. It's also about deciding who will speak for you if you can't speak for yourself; called a substitute decision-maker. Advance Care Planning is one way to be prepared for the unexpected and ensures the care you receive is consistent with what matters to you.

Preparing a Basket

Advance Care Planning is like having a basket of helpful information that you can reach into when needed. For more about how to prepare your basket, see the FNHA brochure Advance Care Planning: Preparing a Basket with What Matters to You.

Five Steps in ​​Advance Care Planning

The goal of advance care planning is to help ensure you receive health care that is consistent with your values, goals and preferences. ​Advance Care Planning includes 5 main steps:

  1. Think about what matters to you.
  2. Learn about any health conditions you have.
  3. Decide who can speak for you, if you are unable - a Substitute Decision Maker (SDM)​.
  4. Talk to your family, friends and health care providers about your health care wishes.
  5. Record your wishes, goals and priorities. Share copies with people who matter to you.

Finally, remember that you will need to review your Advance Care Plan when there are changes to your health and wellness. Refer to Your Care, Your Choices for more information.

Your Care, Your Choices 

Your Care, Your C​hoices is a full guide to learning about Advance Care Planning in BC.  

The guide was adapted with input from various BC First Nations people and health care providers. It includes personal stories, information about substitute decision makers, and medical care options. There are workbook-style pages for you to record your decisions as well as copies of provincial legal forms.

You can complete the online fillable version or request a print copy at

Coming Full Circle: Planni​​​ng for Your Care

Created by Indigenous peoples across Canada for Indigenous people. The Coming Full Circle booklet helps to organize your thoughts about Advance Care Planning and guide discussions with family, friends or healthcare providers. It includes thinking questions, suggestions on how to choose a substitute decision-maker and ways to talk with families and healthcare providers to make wishes known.

Download a fillable version her​e.

Personal St​​ories

Fancy C. P​​​​​oitras​

My Journey into Advance Care Planning (personal story and update from Fancy C. Poitras, Senior Policy Analyst at FNHA)

Nikki Hunter

Advance Care Planning can be viewed as a living will – which is difficult for many people to talk about – but it is really about trying to uphold a person's dignity and wishes as they experience illness or journey to the Spirit World.​

– Nikki Hunter, FNHA Home Care Nurse and Supervisor (read Nicki's story: Líl̓wat Health & Healing Shifts Advance Care Planning for COVID-19)

Related links

Advance Care Planning: Talking to Your​ Co​​mmunity (Speak Up Canada video)

Honouring My Journey: My Advance Care Planning Basket​ (FNHA workbook)

Preparing for a Serious Illness Conversation: A Guide for Health Care Providers (for the SIC-adapted)​ (FNHA & BC​ Centre for Palliative Care Guide)

Serious Illness Co​nve​rsation Guide - Adapted Version​ - Video about using the Serious Illness Conversation Guide (FNHA & BC​ Centre for Palliative Care​)​

​​FNHA and Douglas College Indigenous End-of-Life CourseThis unique four-day course is aimed at First Nations and Indigenous individuals who have been or will be called upon to voluntarily provide care, support and advocacy for someone who is facing the end of their life.

FNHA has developed several nursing resources for Advance Care Planning during COVID-19. See Nursing Practice in For Health Professionals in our Coronavirus section.​​
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