Think about what's important to you

  • Think about what is important to you when it comes to your health and wellbeing.
  • What should your SDM know about you if they have to make healthcare decisions on your behalf?

Who we are, what we believe, and what we value are all shaped by our personal experiences. Our cultural and personal values, family traditions, spiritual beliefs, customs, work, and those close to us affect us deeply. This is important whether you are healthy or if you are living with a health condition. 


Questions to help you think about your values and what's important to you



What gives your life meaning? What brings quality to your life?

What worries or fears do you have about your future health?

Think about how you made healthcare choices in the past. What factors did you consider?

Has anything happened in your past or in the media that has shaped your feelings about medical care? 

Think about past medical care a family member or friend received during an illness or at the end of life. Were there things that could have been done better?  

Helpful tips for thinking about your values and what's important to you

  • It’s not always possible to know what kind of future health problems you may have.
  • By helping them understand your values and what is important to you, you give them information that could help them make many different decisions.
  • Talking about treatments such as life support or feeding tubes is not helpful on its own.What really matters to people is the outcome of the treatment. For example, a feeding tube may be ok if you have a fixable problem and you can still communicate with people.
  • Helping your SDM(s) understand your priorities and how you make decisions can be very helpful to them.



Althea, Bob and Tran think about what's important

The most important values to Althea are her dignity and being able to interact with people.

 She worries about losing her dignity if she is hooked up to machines and she needs total care. She can't imagine not being able to speak and share moments with her sisters.

For Bob, "life isn't worth living unless I have my independence".

When Bob thinks of losing his independence, he pictures his brother Jim in the intensive care unit and how he never fully recovered. Jim needed help with everything.


The most important value to Tran is family. Tran is happiest when she's spending time with her husband and children.

She wants to be around to continue to spend time with her family and see her children grow up.    

What are your most important values?

Click here to complete an exercise that will help you think about what's important to you