Take Charge Toolkit

Think about what matters most to you, and what kind of care you would want if you were unable to speak for yourself.

Start by thinking about your personal values and what matters most to you for your future care. Clarifying this will give guidance to those who can support your wishes.

Give yourself plenty of time to think about these questions. Talking with a close friend, a spiritual leader, or your doctor might help you consider your choices. Writing in a journal or a letter may help you organize your thoughts.

Think about what gives your life meaning:

  • What does “quality of life” mean to you?
  • What’s most important: quality of life, or how long you live?
  • What do you want to do or say before you die? How might this affect what you would want if you were seriously injured or ill, and lost the ability to talk, walk, eat, or remember things?

Think about what you have learned from your experiences:

  • If you have any serious medical conditions now, do you expect them to get worse? How might this affect your quality of life?
  • Think about people you know who have died. Did you learn anything from their deaths about what you want – or don’t want – for your own care at the end of life?

Think about your options:

  • In an emergency, medical treatment such as CPR, intubation, and/or a feeding tube may be given. Do you understand what these terms mean for your care? Have you thought about when you might want these treatments – and in what situations you might not want them?
  • Can you imagine a situation in which you would you want to stop medical treatment designed simply to keep you alive, and instead choose only care that keeps you as comfortable as possible?
  • Where would you like to spend your last year? Your last day? Would you like to be in your home, in a nursing home, in the hospital – or somewhere else?
  • Have you discussed your final wishes with your loved ones? Do they know if you want to donate your organs? Do they know whether you prefer to be buried or cremated?

Now that you’ve thought about what matters most to you, it’s time for Step 2 – talk to others who need to know. Or, return to the overview on advance care planning.