Learn about your health conditions

Think about any illnesses you may have. If you are living with a chronic or serious illness,  ACP includes learning about this illness and what you might expect to happen in the future.

Some examples of chronic or serious illnesses include:

  • Heart problems (heart failure, valve problems, peripheral vascular disease)
  • Nervous system problems (stroke, Parkinson’s, movement disorders, ALS)
  • Cancers
  • Dementia
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems

Learning more about your illness can help you and your SDM prepare for the future.



Think about what to ask your healthcare provider


It can be helpful to ask yourselves these questions:

  • What do you already know about your illness?
  • What would you like to know about your illness? For example, will it get better or worse? Or how will it impact your life as you get older or as the illness progresses?
  • What information would help you plan for the future?



Click here to write down your own questions. You can print it out and take it with you to your next visit with your healthcare provider.

Check in with Bob and Tran

Bob doesn’t know if heart disease is something that can be cured. No one has told him whether his heart function will return back to normal. This was the first time Bob was admitted to hospital. He isn’t sure if he should expect to have more admissions to hospital for his heart failure in the future.

It is important for both Bob and his SDM to understand more about his heart failure and what to expect so they can prepare for the future.

Tran and her cancer team are hopeful she can be cured. They hope all of the cancer cells will be taken out of her body during the surgery. During the surgery the doctors will check to see if the cancer has spread in her body.

After the surgery, it will be important for Tran to have another discussion with her cancer team to learn about what she can expect next including if other treatments are needed.



Priya and Jacob

At this point Priya is unable to understand how her dementia affects her life.

Priya's three daughters all have a slightly different understanding of dementia. 

They all understand that it has affected her memory. 

Through ACP conversations they learned that dementia can also affect her ability to swallow and walk.

Jacob’s brain injury impacts his ability to swallow, talk, and think. His parents understand the damage is permanent and cannot be fixed. But they are still surprised that his health seems to be getting worse.

It will be important for Jacob’s parents to understand how his health may change over time, and how these changes might impact his quality of life and his health.

ACP conversations may help his parents prepare for the future.




When she was first diagnosed with cancer, her parents made all of her decisions. Now that she is older she wants to know more about her own health. She prefers to have her parents help her understand what is going on.
She has always known that her illness was serious because she had to have part of her leg amputated but is quite surprised to hear that the cancer has come back. She was hoping to go to university. ACP conversations will be a chance to learn what they can expect to happen in the future.



Learn more about these specific conditions

Use the following links to find out more information on each of the conditions:

If you have a condition that is not on this list, ask your healthcare provider if they can suggest a good website for you to learn more.