It’s one of the most important talks you'll ever have.


We plan life events all the time: birthday parties, family vacations, going to college, choosing to raise a family. But what about planning for our death? While most people say that talking with their loved ones about their end-of-life care is important, few people have actually done so.

Being prepared and discussing our end-of-life wishes in advance can give ourselves, our loved ones and our health care team a sense of peace. We can feel comforted knowing we are more likely to have our wishes followed, we will have a better quality of life and death and our loved ones will have less stress and anxiety during an already difficult time.

Discussing our end-of-life care wishes, or someone else's wishes, is a conversation that takes place over time. Hospice Northwest Services has created the Don’t Duck The Conversation: A Personal Planning Guide to help you begin the conversation. The guide has been designed for you to complete at your own pace. This way, you can sort out one duck at a time, at a pace that feels comfortable and manageable for you.

Don't Duck The Conversation: A Personal Planning Guide

Hospice Northwest Services' Don’t Duck the Conversation Guide is one important step in an overall Advance Care Planning process. The guide provides questions - both factual and contemplative - to help you think about, record, and discuss important personal information, including:

  • Special memories you would like to record or share
  • Important dates you would like your family to remember
  • Information about your children’s unique preferences, habits & health concerns
  • Instructions on how to deal with the care of your pets
  • Important legal and financial information and where you've stored it
  • Memoirs or messages written to your loved ones
  • Instructions on how to write a eulogy, obituary, or epitaph
  • Information about your funeral or memorial service arrangements

Important questions pertaining to your medical preferences, identifying your substitute decision maker and other questions related to your wishes for your personal care at end of life are addressed in the Speak Up Advance Care Planning Guide, published by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. We highly recommend that you complete this guide.

We also suggest that you consult A Guide to Advance Care Planning, developed by the Government of Ontario that helps you know and exercise your rights in preparing for a time when you may be unable to make decisions about your care.

The Don’t Duck the Conversation Guide is available in two formats - an electronic version that you can download and save to your own computer, and a paper copy which can be picked up at our office at 63 Carrie Street or mailed to you. The printed booklet is $10, and we will require you to pay for the cost of postage for copies that are mailed to you. Please contact Kathleen at (807) 626-5570, ext. 5573 or for more information or to request a copy.

The electronic version of the Don't Duck the Conversation Personal Planning Guide is now available!

You can either download the entire guide or save it in sections. To download the complete guide, click the button below.

Don't Duck the Conversation Guide


There may be parts of the guide you don't wish to complete, so we've also divided it into separate sections. Just click on the links below and save each section to your computer so you can fill them out at your own pace.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to view the answers.

Can I complete the Don't Duck the Conversation guide online? How do I complete the form?
You cannot complete the guide online. We realize that internet networks are not always safe places to store your private information. With the aim of protecting your privacy, we have designed this document in a downloadable fillable PDF form that can be saved to your personal computer. You may also request a printed copy from Hospice Northwest.

Do I have to print out the entire document or can I print out just a few pages?
Hospice Northwest’s Don’t Duck The Conversation: A Personal Planning Guide has been organized into a list of themed chapters that you can print individually or as one complete document from your computer. We also have a Don’t Duck The Conversation printed workbook available that you can pick up at our office free of charge or which can be mailed to you for a nominal delivery fee.

I feel overwhelmed about completing the Don't Duck Guide. Where do I start?
We suggest taking small, measurable steps while you are completing this process. Begin with something that you feel ready to work on. We have created support tools to assist you if you are experiencing difficulty with getting started, which you will find in the Getting Started section of the workbook.

 If you find that you need additional support to complete your plan, we suggest that you ask a family member or friend to support you or consult a professional, such as a counselor, a clergy member, or your family doctor to discuss these issues.

I'm concerned about my privacy. Who has access to my private information? How is my information stored online and for how long?
Your privacy is important to us. Your personal planning guide is not fillable online, nor is the guide stored online. You must download the guide to your personal computer and from there you can answer the questions electronically or you may choose to print out the document and fill the form in by hand.

Therefore, only you and the people you disclose the location of your planning document to will have access to your private information. It is very important that the people with whom you share your workbook, and your Advance Care Planning documents, are individuals you trust.

The only information that is stored on Hospice Northwest Services’ database is an optional feedback form that asks questions pertaining to your overall satisfaction with the Personal Planning guide. If you choose to complete the feedback form, you have the option to remain anonymous. This feedback form has been designed for the staff at Hospice Northwest Services to understand the overall effectiveness of the Don’t Duck guide and determine if we need to make changes to better serve the community.

I'm uncomfortable answering some of the questions in the Life Review section. Do I have to answer every question?
We understand that some of the questions may not be suitable for everyone. The questions found in the Life Review section of the document and throughout the entire guide have been designed for you to pick and choose from as you deem appropriate. You have the option of downloading individual PDF’s of each topic in our Don’t Duck The Conversation guide so that you can select the topics that pertain to your needs as well as save paper.

Where do I answer questions related to my medical preferences, such as 'what would make prolonging my life unacceptable for me' or questions like 'who would I like to be with me when I die'?
These and other important questions are addressed in the SPEAK UP ADVANCE CARE PLANNING WORKBOOK published by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. Another important resource for you to review is A Guide to Advance Care Planning published by the government of Ontario. Links to these and other valuable publications are found on our Resources page.

What's the difference between the SPEAK UP Advance Care Planning Workbook and Hospice Northwest's Don't Duck The Conversation Personal Planning Guide?
The Speak Up Advance Care Planning Workbook addresses important questions pertaining to one’s personal health choices nearing death, personal values, and information about choosing a substitute decision maker, to name a few. Hospice Northwest Services’ Don’t Duck The Conversation Personal Planning Guide is one important step in an overall Advance Care Planning process that provides questions – both factual and contemplative – to help you think about, record, and discuss important personal information, such as:

  • special memories you would like to record or share
  • important legal and financial information and where you’ve stored it
  • instructions on how to write a eulogy and obituary
  • information about your funeral or memorial service arrangements

Is the Hospice Northwest Don't Duck the Conversation: A Personal Planning Guide a legal document?
Hospice Northwest’s Don’t Duck guide is NOT a legal document. This guide is a resource that you can use to record your personal information. It is one important step in an overall Advance Care Planning process. It is important that you also complete the SPEAK Up Guide to Advance Care Planning.

There are many additional resources listed in the downloadable version of Don't Duck the Conversation guide. Is there an easy way to access these websites and resources?
The links in the electronic version of the guide are italicized and underlined. Clicking on the link will take you to the website mentioned, where you will find additional information about the topic. 

Do I need a special program to download and complete the electronic version of the Don't Duck the Conversation guide?
Most computers already have a PDF Reader installed. If you don’t have a PDF Reader, you can download one here:

If you have questions that have not been addressed in the FAQ section, feel free to contact us at the Hospice Northwest Services office at (807)-626-5570. Your questions and comments help us to serve you better. Thank you!