Advance Care Planning – The Most Important Decisions You Never Knew You Should Make

By Giving List Staff   |   November 17, 2023

Maybe you’ve heard the terms. You might even understand what they mean and their importance. But perhaps there are other things you feel like you need to get done first… or you may feel like you are too young to be concerned with future medical decision making. 

Hospice of Santa Barbara aims to get everyone between the ages of 18 and 108 to complete their Advance Care Directive, called MyCare, and submit them to Cottage Hospital to become part of their official medical records by providing free-of-charge workshops and personalized guidance to “Get it Done.” 

But why the urgency? 

At Hospice of Santa Barbara (HSB), we have seen and heard it many times, families battling with each other during an incredibly sad and stressful time. Family members are suddenly faced with decisions regarding a seriously ill and incapacitated loved one who is not able to speak for themself and are often at odds with the right course of action because they have no idea what that loved one would have wanted. Would their loved one choose life sustaining treatment with little chance of improvement or recovery? Who would they have selected to make these decisions on their behalf?  

“The saddest thing about not having your wishes known, is it often interferes with what could have been a peaceful, meaningful, and sacred passing,” says David Selberg, CEO of Hospice of Santa Barbara. “Life is unpredictable and we never know what the future may hold. Our hope is that families will make these decisions now, while they are healthy, so that if and when the ‘unexpected’ happens, all of this ‘decision-making’ is out of the way,” says Selberg. 

One recent Hospice of Santa Barbara client explained why his father’s completed Advance Directive made all the difference to his family: “Because he made his wishes known through Advance Care Planning, we knew that my dad wanted to die naturally and peacefully in the hospital with strict ‘do not resuscitate’ instructions. I’m terribly sad about the loss of my father but the way he died was such a blessing for all of us.” 

About Hospice of Santa Barbara

For nearly 50 years, Hospice of Santa Barbara has been caring for people in the Santa Barbara area who are grieving the loss of a loved one or facing terminal illness. 

From its start in a little office on State Street with four employees to its current facility on the Riviera with close to 50 staff, HSB has walked side-by-side and hand-in-hand with families as they undergo deep sadness, illness, and trauma. 

Last year, Hospice of Santa Barbara’s free services served 8,910 individuals in the community, supported 855 grieving adults through the loss of a loved one, counseled 430 children, teens, and their family members after losing a loved one, and assisted 383 patients and 531 family members during a serious illness with their Patient Care Services Program. Their free services also include bringing critical information and resources to Spanish speakers through Mi Vida, Mi Voz and empowering a cadre of 115 compassionate volunteers to give countless hours to help those in need who are dealing with grief and illness. And, just as importantly, training and educating community members on end-of-life issues and completing Advance Care Directives.


Hospice of Santa Barbara

Donate now!
(805) 563-8820
Director of Strategic Advancement: Charles Caldwell


To care for anyone experiencing the impact of serious illness or grieving the death of a loved one.

Begin to Build a Relationship

We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s director of development and/or Executive Director.

Hospice of Santa Barbara is that rare treasure that appears in a person’s life when it is most needed, during the very darkest of times, and offers compassion and care without asking for any compensation. This heart-centered organization represents the highest ideals of humanity and is well deserving of our support.
Marybeth Carty
Natalie Orfalea Foundation,
Executive Director

Your Donations Help Us Provide Free Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning is 100% free for anyone who needs it.

If you would like to donate to this effort, here are a few ways you can make an impact:

The one-time cost for training an Advance Care Planning Facilitator is: $500

The cost to underwrite a workshop for up to 30 people is: $2500

Key Supporters

Learn how your organization can be part of the solution, along with sponsor opportunities, for grief support and end-of-life care. Please visit or contact Charles Caldwell, Director of Strategic Advancement,