The One Important Factor in Advance Care Planning Often Overlooked…

As experts in the advance care planning field, we see there is always one common key factor that many people fail to recognize as a critical step in the process: communication.

For advance care planning to be effective, you need to discuss your wishes and share your documents and values with your family, friends, doctors, and others who can help make sure that your wishes are followed.

Consider this interesting stat:

80% of people, if seriously ill, would want to talk to their doctor about wishes for treatment. Only 7% report actually having that conversation with their doctor.

So if we WANT to have these conversations, what’s stopping us?!?

My Living Voice and Vital Decisions work together to offer a customized program that integrates technology, interpersonal and family interventions to facilitate a more effective advanced illness decision making process. As we always say, having an advance directive is not useful if locked up in a safety deposit box or hidden away in a file cabinet.

In previous blog posts we heard from some of our tenured specialists at Vital Decisions about how communication has played a key role in helping their clients effectively express their wishes to their loved ones and medical teams. These are just 2 examples that highlight the importance of communication in the process of advance care planning.

In next week’s blog post we’ll be posting some communication tips on how to get this conversation started. Stay tuned…



“I began working with a patient who was very ready to talk with me about her end-of-life, although she had not yet communicated any of her thoughts to her family - especially her two daughters, even though they had a close relationship”

Read more about how Melanie helped her client break through some barriers to communicating her wishes to her loved ones.


“For more than five years at Vital Decisions, I have been working with individuals and their family members to build and improve their ability to communicate, and to understand what is important to them as it relates to advance care planning. You may be thinking: “Communication?! That’s so simple – how hard can that be?” But the surprising reality is that there are many communication barriers that present themselves when a person ages and when health is on the decline….”

Continue Reading here to hear Michele's version of how communication helped her client align her wishes and values and communicate that with her loved ones.