Essentia Health is offering free, online classes via Zoom to learn more about advance care planning and include topics such as health care agents, quality of life, concerns about health conditions or illnesses.

Upcoming classes will be 10:30 a.m. July 14 and 1 p.m. Aug. 17.

Advance care planning is a process that helps a person think and talk about their choices for health care in the future. The advance directive is also known as a living will or health care directive.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought advance care planning to the forefront of people’s minds. While COVID-19 can affect people of any age, it’s especially dangerous for those with underlying medical conditions and those over the age of 65.

By having these conversations proactively, a person can make sure their preferences are understood if they become unable to make medical decisions for themselves due to an accident, injury or sudden illness like COVID-19.

“Being proactive in making medical decisions allows the patient’s medical team to understand and prepare for the patient’s wishes and preferences,” stated Dr. Joe Bianco, a family practice physician at Essentia Health, in a news release.

The classes are open to anyone and will provide a presentation to help people make their wishes known. To register for the upcoming online classes, visit

“Entering into these conversations with our patients helps us to honor their choices,” Bianco stated.