Conversations about Serious Illness

"What if something happens?"

"What if this happens?"

"This is happening."

Having your patient think about and share their wishes will help you determine the care you give. It will also help prepare your patient's loved ones to make decisions for them if they are unable to make them at some point in the future.

  • Specific, in the moment
  • Guided by the previous sections: Advance Care Planning and Goals of Care

Questions to Ask Your Patient

Asking your patient the following questions will help them make decisions about the future:

  1. What would you like to know about your illness and what is likely to be ahead?
  2. What kind of information would help you make decisions about your future?
  3. What is most important for you to have a good quality of life?
  4. What are you afraid of about your illness?
  5. What kinds of medical care do you not want?
  6. What do you think it would be like to share these thoughts with your family?
  7. If you haven’t already identified a health care proxy (substitute decision maker/delegate), who would be able to fill that role?

Resources for Decisions

For Health Care Providers