Advance Care Planning

In Ontario Advance Care Planning involves two steps

Step 1: Deciding who will make future health care decisions for you if you are unable to – this will be your Substitute Decision-Maker (SDM). In Ontario there are two ways to decide about your SDM:

  1. Confirming your automatic future SDM(s) from the hierarchy (a ranking list in the Health Care Consent Act) OR

  2. Choosing someone else to act as your SDM(s) by preparing a Power of Attorney for Personal Care (a legal document)

Step 2: Having conversations with your SDM(s) and others to share information about what’s important to you, your wishes, values and beliefs, and anything else that you think will help your SDM(s) understand how you would like to be cared for. These conversations  help to guide your SDM(s) to make healthcare decisions that are based on what you would want for your healthcare.

My children don’t really want to hear me talk about it. I’m sure they think it is so far in the future that it won’t happen to me but in my experience with my own parents [I] know it will and it happens before you know it

Waterloo Wellington Resident

It’s never too early to start Advance Care Planning conversations. 

Before we make decisions, we have conversations.  We often talk about what is important to us in planning for our children’s education, family  weddings,  our own vacations , retirement, and even a trip to the store.  We also need to have conversations about the kind of health care we want when we are seriously ill or at the end of our life.

92% of local Waterloo Wellington residents believe Advance Care Planning will make it easier for loved ones

Community Survey 2015

These conversations make a big difference 

Research suggests that the benefits of Advance Care Planning can include improved satisfaction with health care received and decreased stress, anxiety and depression for the SDM.

1Detering, KM, Hancock, AD, Reade, MC, and Silvester, W. 2010. The Impact of advance care planning on end of life care in elderly patients: randomized controlled trial. BMJ, 340:c1345
2Heyland, DK, Allan DE, Rocher G, Dodek, P, Pichora D, Gafni A. 2009. Discussing prognosis with patients and their families near the end of life. Impact on satisfaction with end of life care. Open Med, 3(20), 71-80

These are conversations worth having…


You and Your Loved Ones

Health Care Providers

Community Professionals