Advance Care Planning

Selected Resources

The following resources represent a broad array of materials to assist the public in better understanding advance care planning and related topics such as hospice and palliative care, caregiving, cognitive impairment, and legal issues. While extensive, this list is by no means exhaustive.

Guidance on Completing an Advance Directive

Caring Conversations Workbook
Published by the Center for Practical Bioethics, this guide helps individuals and their families share meaningful conversations regarding end-of-life decisions.

Your Life, Your Choices
Comprehensive user-friendly workbook, often used in workshops for thinking about and creating an end of life care plan

Consumers Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning
Developed by the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging

Critical Conditions
A community education program helping people understand the importance of planning for their end-of-life medical care. This comprehensive advanced care planning program developed by Georgia Health Decisions includes the CRITICAL Conditions Planning Guide.

For Health Care Proxies/Agents: Making Decisions for Someone Else: A How To Guide
Guide published by American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging.

Health Care Power of Attorney
Access the ABA Commission’s new multi-state guide and easy-to-use, legal form for all adults: Giving Someone a Power of Attorney for Your Health Care.

Legal Issues

Legal Guide for the Seriously Ill: 7 Key Steps to Get Your Affairs in Order
Prepared by the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Advance Directives

Aging With Dignity (Five Wishes)

The Five Wishes document helps individuals express care options and preferences. The advance directive meets the legal requirements in most states and is available in 20 languages for a nominal fee.


Lastingmatters helps any adult, at any age, compile, document and clearly communicate important information, intentions and wishes. The LastingMatters Organizers is a practical and comprehensive planning guide helping to reduce the costs, time, stress and family pressures associated with the death of a loved one.

U.S. Living Will Registry
Electronically stores advance directives and makes available to health care providers 24 hours a day via secure Internet or telephone-facsimile; also stores organ donation.

Medline Plus
Website of the National Library of Medicine (a part of the National Institutes of Health) offers easy-to-understand information on advance directives.

Advance Directives and Cancer
Website providing cancer patients and their families with an outline for thinking about end-of-life care issues and guidelines for discussion with doctors, family members, and loved ones.

The Go Wish Game
A card game for sorting out values related to end-of-life decision making, created by the Coda Alliance. An easy, entertaining way to think and talk about what’s important to you if you become seriously ill.


Hospice and Palliative Care

National Association of Home Care and Hospice (NAHCH)
Nation’s largest trade association representing the interests and concerns of home care agencies, hospices, and home care aid organizations.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)
The  largest nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States. The organization is committed to improving end of life care and expanding access to hospice care with the goal of profoundly enhancing quality of life for people dying in America and their loved ones.

Caregivers and Health Care Surrogates

Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA)
Addresses needs of family members and others providing long-term care at home; offers programs at the national, state and local levels to support and sustain caregivers.

AARP Caregiving Resource Center
Caregiving Resource Center offers helpful tools, work sheets and tips on how to plan, prepare and succeed as a caregiver.

National Alliance for Caregiving
A non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on advancing family caregiving through research, innovation, and advocacy. The Alliance conducts research, does policy analysis, develops national best-practice programs, and works to increase public awareness of family caregiving issues.

Making Decisions for Someone Else: A How-To Guide
Published by the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, this guide is for anyone serving in the role of health care decision maker for someone else.
Making Medical Decisions
Read Making Medical Decisions for Someone Else to understand what it’s like to be a health care proxy, what to do while there’s still time to think about it, how to make the hard decisions, and where to get help.

Talking about End of Life Planning

 The Conversation Project: Your Conversation Starter Kit
A 4-step resource guide to planning and having a conversation about end of life care.

Let’s Talk: Starting the Conversation about Health, Legal, Financial, and End of Life Issues
Why to plan for end of life and how to start; includes legal, financial and medical care planning from Eldercare Locator, Department of Health and Human Services.