Questions About Communicating Your Wishes

Why Share my Wishes?

The purpose of sharing your wishes, values and beliefs is to help your SDM(s) “step into your shoes” when making care decisions on your behalf. In other words, you are trying to help your SDM become aware of your values and what is meaningful in life for you, understand how you make decisions and give them information that will help guide their decision- making about your care.

What Should I Include in my Wishes?

You do not have to make specific statements about treatments you would want or not want. It is often not possible to give directions about specific treatments because it is hard to predict your future health problems. It is important to note that, by sharing your wishes, values and beliefs, you are not giving consent to treatment.

How do I Communicate my Wishes?

In Ontario, you can express wishes about future health care and treatment orally as well as in written documents. You can also communicate your wishes using any means that you use to communicate, such as using a computer or picture board. You can make changes to these wishes in the same way- orally, in writing or through alternative means of communication.

It is a good idea to also have these conversations with your family and friends as they can help support your SDM make a difficult decision about your care.

Who should have Advance Care Planning (ACP) Conversations?

Everyone at any age! Advance care planning is not just about end of life care. Any adult (age 16 or older) needs to understand who would be their SDM if they were not able to provide their own consents to health care.

Advance care planning is important for:

  • Healthy individuals
  • Individuals at early stages of a serious illness
  • Individuals at later stages of a serious illness