Long-Range Care Planning

If you were unable to express your wishes during a health crisis, would your family know what to do? You can spare your loved ones some difficult decisions at a highly emotional time and be sure your wishes are known. 


El Camino Health has resources and expertise to help you and your family sort through the options to find what’s right for you. The best time to make these decisions is before a health crisis — the best time is now.

Take the time to think about your values and what constitutes your quality of life by asking:

  • Do you want to be near family, at home, in the hospital?
  • Do you want life-sustaining treatments?
  • Who do you want to take care of you?

You may also want to consider whether to use palliative or hospice care. Our eldercare counselors can present a list of options and information about both programs. Make sure you know the difference and choose the one that best suits your preferences and situation:

  • Palliative care – Focuses on relieving pain, symptoms and the stress of serious illness, whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to help you live comfortably and to provide the best possible quality of life for you and your family.
  • Hospice care – End-of-life care that includes pain management, spiritual services, 24-hour on-call care, respite care (to provide family caregivers some time away from caregiving responsibilities) and bereavement support. Most people who get hospice care remain in their family’s home. But hospice can also be provided in a nursing home, hospice center or other setting.

Once you’ve considered your options and are confident in your decisions, we can help you prepare an advance healthcare directive, a legal document outlining your medical preferences. We offer free assistance through our Health Library & Resource Center.

Specially trained eldercare counselors can help you fill out the proper forms and refer you to legal counsel if needed. They can also provide information about grieving, choosing end-of-life care and related topics.

Don’t wait until decisions must be made quickly and without thorough consideration. Consider connecting with an eldercare counselor so you can weigh your options before a crisis occurs. To schedule an appointment, call 650-940-7210 or email caregiver.assistance@elcaminohealth.org.