Not everyone is comfortable talking about health emergencies or illness, but they happen. A serious accident or a sudden illness can quickly lead to a crisis situation. Your loved ones may have to make difficult care decisions without knowing what you want, or what you don’t want.
When you have a plan and tell your family how you wish to be treated, you give them a tremendous gift. You take away the confusion, conflict and stress of deciding what is best for you. Having these conversations with your doctors and chosen healthcare surrogate also helps prepare everyone to honor your wishes.
Talking with Your Loved Ones
- “Have you seen The Bucket List movie? I watched it the other day and it really got me thinking about how I want to be treated if I ever get sick. Can I share my thoughts with you?”
- “Do you remember how stressful it was for all of us when Grandma got sick? It was hard making decisions for her and never really knowing if we were doing the right thing. I want to tell you about my wishes so you know what to do if you ever have to make decisions for me.”
Conversations should happen early and in a relaxed setting while you and your loved ones are healthy and able to talk. These kitchen table conversations do not have to be complicated or stressful to be useful.
Talking with Your Healthcare Providers
When talking with your physicians and healthcare providers, discuss your care options, decision maker and wishes. Click here to download PDF on Talking with your Healthcare Provider.
- Tell them you are completing your advance directive
- Discuss your goals for care and pain management options
- Inform them of your healthcare surrogate
- Talk about your preferences for future medical care
- Ask about the benefits and burdens of life-prolonging treatment
- Talk about your fears and concerns with serious illness or injury
- Ask if they are willing to honor your medical preferences
Once you have completed your advance directive make sure you give your healthcare provider a copy for your medical record.