Chapter 1: Conversations about the future
Knowing care wishes
Goals of care and advance care planning are so important. You want to grieve your parent and not have to deal with the legal pieces. As a society, we need to get past death-denying and have these conversations up front.
It may be difficult or uncomfortable to start a conversation with the person who is ill about what they would want for their future care. However, these discussions are critical to ensuring that their wishes are known and that you, the family, and the healthcare team have clear “goals of care.” This way, you and others can be confident making decisions if the person cannot speak for themself.
Goals of care
Goals-of-care discussions are about what is important to the
person who is ill. Examples of goals of care include deciding between being
lucid and clear-headed and having pain controlled; if they could no longer eat
and enjoy a good meal, deciding whether they would want care discontinued; if
they could no longer recognize family, if they would wish to have care
discontinued or withdrawn.
Advance care planning (ACP)
Advance care planning involves creating an advance care plan document that outlines a patient’s treatment decisions if they are unable to communicate or make decisions in the future. You may have heard this called a living will in the past.
* The actual form or written document may be given a
different name depending on the province or territory where
you live, and an
advance care plan may be considered a legal document in your province or
*This website is a useful resource for advance care planning, and it offers information for different parts of Canada.