Talking with your Health–Care Provider about your serious illness

Are you living with a serious illness?

Living with a serious illness brings ups and downs. Research shows that taking time to think through what’s important to you, and talking about it with your health-care provider can help you feel less anxious, more at peace, and more in control of your situation.

It also helps to have a conversation with your health-care provider about the expected progress of your illness, as well as your values, fears and goals, and what you want for health care. It can also help you get care that is aligned with your wishes.

(Serious illnesses can include diseases such as cancer, dementia, motor–neuron disease, end-stage kidney or lung disease, heart disease and stroke.)

How to prepare for a conversation with your health-care provider about your illness

  • What would you like to know about your illness?
  • What kind of information would help you make decisions about your future?
  • What is most important for you to have a good quality of life?
  • What are you afraid of about your illness?
  • What kinds of medical care do you not want?
  • What do you think it would be like to share these thoughts with your family?
  • Who would you want to make health-care decisions for you, if you can’t speak for yourself?
  1. The names and contact information for the people on your who would be eligible to be appointed to be your Temporary Substitute Decision Maker List. You can include notes on people who would not be eligible and why. 
  2. A copy of your Representation Agreement, if you have one.
  3. A copy of your Advance Directive, if you have one.
  4. Any other Advance Care Planning documents, for example if you have written down what matters most to you (your values, beliefs and wishes).

Want to know more?

Here’s an easy to follow, printable guide about Serious Illness Conversations

Resources for health-care providers

BC Centre for Palliative Care has a program that trains and supports health-care providers to have quality conversations with their patients living with a serious illness. It helps health-care providers talk about the person’s illness, their goals and wishes, and planning for the future when their illness is serious but stable.

Scroll to Top
Verified by MonsterInsights