If you want to formally document your values, preferences, and concerns, in advance of a serious illness, make your plan today.
Serious illness, like severe COVID-19 infection or ‘getting hit by a bus’ or having a major heart attack, can happen at any time. When that happens, you will likely be too sick to think and speak clearly. Doctors will have to work with your substitute decision-maker (usually a close family member or friend) to make life and death decisions. This will be a very stressful experience for them if they don’t know your wishes and preferences for ICU care. There is no time like now to prepare for future serious illness. In exchange for time, you get better informed, greater peace of mind and subsequently, the right medical care for yourself and your loved ones.
Dr. Daren Heyland is a clinical care doctor and researcher at Queens University. He spent 20 years as a critical care doctor studying decision-making in a hospital setting. Since then, he has continued to help his patients prepare for serious illness and has created many tools available online. During the pandemic he has been striving to help as many people access his tools as possible.