Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning (ACP) is how you can tell your loved ones and your healthcare providers what you want for your future healthcare needs. At Spectrum Health we believe in aligning health care with what matters most to you. Our goal is to honor your wishes. When your wishes for care are known in advance, family members experience significantly less anxiety, stress and depression. Let us help you achieve your health care wishes and goals by communicating your health care needs with an Advance Directive. Your documented health care choices are a gift that you can give to your decision-maker, known as Patient Advocate in the State of Michigan, and your loved ones.

What is a Patient Advocate?

A Patent Advocate is a loved one or individual(s) that you chose to speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself. This person is one that you trust to act on your behalf and who will assist your healthcare team in medical decisions that align with your values and goals. Your Patient Advocate must be appointed by completing a legal document called a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (DPOAH). DPOAH form is one type of Advance Directive.

Ready to start an Advance Care Planning conversation? Watch this video with Joshua Kooistra, DO, Chief Medical Officer, Spectrum Health West Michigan, on why it's important to plan ahead.

What is an Advance Directive?

An Advance Directive is the documented result of advance care planning. In some cases, it is a legal document, such as the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (DPOAH) mentioned above. Other types of Advance Directives can be used to communicate your goals and values about:

  • The type of care you prefer
  • What to do when you are too hurt or sick to speak for yourself

Why should I have an Advance Directive?

If something happens to you where you cannot speak for yourself, your healthcare team can provide every treatment available. They will also look to your patient advocate and/or family for decisions. If your wishes and preferences are documented in advance, your health care team can work with your designated patient advocate and will know what personal goals and/or life-sustaining treatments you would want.

What do I need to do to get started on my Advance Care Planning?

At Spectrum Health, we have an Advance Care Planning tool that can be used independently at any time. If you prefer assistance, we also have people who are trained to help you and your loved ones with the tool and with decisions about your health care. You can revisit your decisions and the tool at any time throughout your life as your health changes or your goals and wishes regarding your health change.

Advance Care Planning is a FREE service we offer to you and your loved ones. To get started, click the "Request to Start Your Advance Care Planning" button on this page,  call 616.774.7615 or email: