Conversation Starters

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Advance Care Planning conversations help confirm and communicate what quality of life means to you – what values and wishes inform your health care decisions. That way your Substitute Decision Maker can make future health care decision for you if you are mentally incapable of doing so.

It might take a few tries to get the conversation going and it might take a few conversations. Here are some ideas:

Be Straight Forward

“I have just filled out a workbook about my wishes for future health care and I want to share it with you.”

“My health is good right now, but I want to talk to you about what I’d want if I was sick and needed you to make decisions for me.”


Find an Example From Your Family or Friends

“Does anyone know how Jason’s sister died? No one ever talked about it. I wonder if she died at home or in a hospital?”

“Do you remember my friend Frank who was in a coma for a while? I wonder if there was any argument about keeping him on that ventilator?”


Blame Someone Else

“Pastor Jones was talking about our choices for health care if something happened, and I realized that I haven’t told you about my wishes – we should talk about that.”

“My doctor wants me to think about my future care and to start the conversation through advance care planning. Will you help me?”


Find an Example From the News

“Remember the man who was in a coma for years? I would never want that to happen to me.”

“That story about the family fighting about their mom’s care made me realize that we should talk about these things so the same thing doesn’t happen to our family.”


PLEASE NOTE: the following video is reflective of the National campaign.  Legal requirements regarding Health Care Consent and Advance Care Planning vary across the country, therefore the National Speak up resources may not always reflect the Ontario legal framework.


Additional Resources:

Conversation Guide for the Public, click here

Substitute Decision Maker Hierarchy, click here.

Advance Care Planning, click here. 

Ontario Health Care Consent Advance Care Planning workbook, click here.