BACKGROUND Care consistent with preferences is the goal of advance care planning (ACP). However, comparing written preferences to actual end-of-life care may not capture consistency of care with preferences. OBJECTIVE We evaluated four additional types of consistency, using prospective data on written preferences and active clinical decision making by patients and their surrogates. METHODS Secondary analysis of data was done from a trial of an ACP intervention for patient-surrogate dyads. Forty-five patients died during the trial and comprised the sample for the analysis. Sources of data included patients' preferences in a written goals-of-care tool, medical record reviews, and two-week postbereavement interviews with surrogates to complement medical record reviews. RESULTS Twenty-four patients (53.3%) received care consistent with written preferences and 11 (24.4%) inconsistent with written preferences. The remaining 10 patients (22.2%) died suddenly with no opportunity for treatment decision making. Eleven (24.4%) were able to participate in decision making with their surrogates; of those, 9 (81.8%) received care consistent with their expressed preferences. Twenty-two patients were incapacitated and thus the surrogate made treatment decisions alone; of those, 18 (81.8%) made decisions consistent with the patient's written preference. CONCLUSIONS Simply comparing documented preferences for end-of-life care and medical records of care delivered does not adequately reflect the process of ACP and treatment decision making at the end of life. To understand consistency between preferences and end-of-life care, investigators need data on written and real-time expressed preferences.