Logo: Speak Up

How to talk about your health care wishes with family

Plus free resources to help you and your family plan ahead

If you were sick and couldn’t speak for yourself, would your loved ones know your wishes?

Here is some food for thought on National Advance Care Planning Day (Tuesday, April 16): The space between guessing and knowing can be closed with a conversation.

We often assume people know what we’re thinking. The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

You might be surprised by the space between what you want for your future care and what your loved ones think you want. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to close this space: have a conversation. Talk to your loved ones. Talk to your health care providers.

Most importantly, talk to your substitute decision maker(s) (SDM), who would make health care decisions if you cannot speak for yourself. They need to know about your values, what is meaningful in your life, and how you would like decisions to be made.

In addition, check out Advance Care Planning in Canada’s “Speak Up” campaign for more information, tools, and prompts to help with these conversations.

Don’t leave your loved ones in the space between guessing and knowing.

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