Expression of Wishes

​Expression of wishes (also sometimes referred to as Advance Care Directives or "Living Wills") inform and guide the patient's Substitute Decision-Maker in their role of acting on the patient's previously expressed wishes that are applicable to the patient's circumstances.

To formulate your wishes, begin by reflecting on your values, beliefs and understanding about care or specific medical procedures. Think about any situations that you may have experienced with others and how it made you feel. You should also speak with your health care providers to ensure you have accurate information about your own health condition in order to express wishes about medical procedures that you may or may not want.

Writing down your wishes helps to ensure our wishes are clear for everyone. However, you do not need to write down your wishes for those wishes to be followed. In Ontario, you can express wishes about future health care and treatment orally as well as in written documents. You can also communicate your wishes using any means that you use to communicate, such as through a computer or picture board. You can make changes to these wishes the same way. The most important thing to do is to have a conversation with the person or people who will be your Substitute Decision-Maker​. Your Substitute Decision Maker is required to interpret your wishes, however expressed, to guide your care and consent or refuse consent to treatment on your behalf.​

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