An advance directive helps to make your wishes known regarding future healthcare decisions if you become critically ill and lose your decision-making capability.
It may also help in promoting discussions among you, your physician and your family about specific types of care and the life-sustaining measures you wish to receive. These discussions are an important part of planning future care since the person whom you choose to make decisions on your behalf may gain a clearer understanding about your choices, as well as your feelings during this process.
The active participation of a physician whom you know and trust will enable you to ask questions and be informed about the decisions you are making. It is strongly recommended that you ask as many questions as you wish in order to eliminate any possibility of confusion and uncertainty. This ensures that your personal values and decisions about future care are respected.
Completing and updating your advance directive may reduce the burden on your family and caregivers as they make end-of-life decisions on your behalf. It is important for you to feel that the individuals whom you trust are making the right decisions for you. They need your guidance to make the life-and-death decisions that appropriately reflect your wishes.
In the Living Will section you will be asked to consider what your wishes would be in different scenarios. To assist you, a glossary is included, describing the terminology in greater detail. Its aim is to provide you with as much information as possible and to encourage questions if you are troubled by anything you have read.
In the mandate section, you will be asked to name someone to make healthcare decisions for you, if you lose your decision-making capability in the future. In Quebec, this person is called a "mandatory".
Your feedback about this document, as well as your experience while completing it, is welcomed and appreciated. You may address your comments to:
Dr. Michael Dworkind OR Lucie Wade
Herzl Family Practise Centre Clinical Ethicist
Jewish General Hospital Jewish General Hospital
We are thankful to the past and currents members of Jewish General Hospital Clinical Ethics Committee who helped to create and revise these documents.