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Conversation Resources

Communicating your healthcare wishes with your loved ones is at least as important as completing written advance directives.

1) Ideas for how to start the conversation

  • Share a story about an individual's personal experience (someone you know or a public figure/celebrity. A celebrity example is Casey Kasem). Talk about how you wouldn't want that to happen to you.

  • Share your ideas in advance of a face-to-face conversation (e.g. letter, email, video to your loved ones). 
  • Blame your attorney. Say that he/she wants you to talk with your loved ones.

2) Guiding the conversation

  • Talk about your overall goals and wishes for your care. You can do this yourself or use any of the tools below to help you express your wishes.
     
  • Show your loved ones your advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and/or living will). Talk through your choices in these documents. You can use the advance directive in your estate planning binder.

3) Make sure your loved ones have a copy of your advance directives

  • Give your healthcare proxy (and your loved ones, if you choose) a copy. You can make a copy from the documents in your binder, or get them from DocuBank using your wallet card (via fax or web).
     
  • You may want to print paper copies of your DocuBank card for your loved ones (from the DocuBank website).

Other Tools for Thinking About and Discussing Healthcare Wishes

Consumer's Tool Kit for Healthcare Advance Planning, Second Edition

Use a workbook approach - Workbooks recommended by the ABA Commission on Law & Aging

Games and Activities

  • Hearts2Hearts - A deck of cards with 52 ways to start the conversation about advance care planning and instructions on how to play customized games
     
  • My Way Cards - A set of cards designed to help discuss your preferences and wishes regarding advanced dementia and other terminal conditions.

Videos

  • Loving Conversations - A video produced by The American Health Lawyers Association that is designed to help foster the dialogue about the intersection of health and law. It can be viewed for free online.  

Additional Resources

 Viki Kind - www.kindethics.com - Viki is a clinical bioethicist, author, and public speaker who has developed tools and resources to help individuals make difficult healthcare decisions for their loved ones.