We will all die some time down the road and we hope that road is long and windy with many experiences for living a full and beautiful life. However; the roadmap of life is uncertain and without introducing conversations about what is important to us around health care decisions, our families/friend(s) will be left guessing at what we would want if we were unable to speak for ourselves.
ACP is where capable adults share their beliefs, values and wishes for health care decisions with their close family/friend(s) and health care provider in advance of a time when they may be incapable of deciding for themselves.
Conversations about end of life can be difficult, so let’s shift that way of thinking to conversations about living well and focus on what is most meaningful to us.
Think about what’s important to you and share these with close family/friend(s).
Start the conversation with family/friend(s) and health care provider about what treatments you would or wouldn’t accept. We should all have an ACP regardless of our health status or age. These discussions will change over time, and should be revisited; when health changes, a birth of a child, marriage/divorce etc.
Communicate your wishes verbally or in writing to your loved ones. Chose a Substitute Decision Maker, someone you trust completely, who could speak on your behalf and honour your wishes.
ACP is a gift to your loved ones. They won’t need to guess, carry guilt or regret if ever having to make a choice around medical interventions which could sustain or end life.
It’s never too soon but it could be too late.