Here's your portable guide to the conversation.
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NEW! You can now type your answers directly into the Starter Kit, save your personalized version, finish or change it later, and email it to family and friends.

New! A Starter Kit designed to help parents of seriously ill children who want guidance about "having the conversation" with their children.
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Starter Kit also available in Spanish
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Starter Kit also available in French
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Starter Kit also available in Mandarin
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Now that you've had the conversation with your loved ones, are you ready to talk with your doctor?
Download and print the How to Talk to Your Doctor PDF
Also available in Spanish
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Also available in French
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Step 1: Get Ready

If you don’t want to talk about dying, one thing’s for sure—you’re not alone.

There are a million reasons to avoid having the conversation.

But it’s vitally important. And you can do it.

 

Consider the facts.

There’s a big gap between what people say they want and what actually happens.

60% of people say that making sure their family is not burdened by tough decisions is “extremely important”

56% have not communicated their end-of-life wishes

Source: Survey of Californians by the California HealthCare Foundation (2012)

70% of people say they prefer to die at home

70% die in a hospital, nursing home, or long-term care facility

Source: Centers for Disease Control (2005)

80% of people say that if seriously ill, they would want to talk to their doctor about end-of-life care

7% report having had an end-of-life conversation with their doctor

Source: Survey of Californians by the California HealthCare Foundation (2012)

82% of people say it’s important to put their wishes in writing

23% have actually done it

Source: Survey of Californians by the California HealthCare Foundation (2012)

One conversation can make all the difference.

Remember:

  • You don’t need to talk about it just yet. Just think about it.
  • You can start out by writing a letter—to yourself, your family, or a friend. Like this one.
  • Having a practice conversation with a friend could help.
  • These conversations may reveal that you and your loved ones disagree. That’s okay. It’s important to simply know this, and to continue talking about it now—not during a medical crisis.

PLEASE NOTE: This document does not seek to provide legal advice.

Ready to think about what you want? Move on to the next step.

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