Stanford Letter Project

Did you know?

New research at Stanford University shows that most doctors are reluctant to talk to their patients about what matters most at end-of-life. The Standford Letter Project will help you write a simple letter to your doctor about your values and life goals. Many people have written their letters and given them to their doctors. Write your letter now! The link at the bottom of the page will take you to the letter in different languages.

Dear Doctor,

My Doctor’s name _________________________________

RE: What matters most to me at the end of my life

I have been reading and thinking about end-of-life issues lately. I realize how important it is that I communicate my wishes to you and my family. I know that you are very busy.

You may find it awkward to talk to me about my end-of-life wishes or you may feel that it is too early for me to have this conversation. So I am writing this letter to clarify what matters most to me.

My name ______________________________________

What Matters Most to Me
Examples: Being at home, doing gardening, going to church, playing with my grandchildren



My important future life milestones
Examples: my 10th wedding anniversary, my grandson high school graduation, birth of my granddaughter



Here is how we prefer to handle bad news in my family
Examples: We talk openly about it, we shield the children from it, we do not like to talk about it, we do not tell the patient



Here is how we make medical decisions in our family
Examples: I make the decision myself, my entire family has to agree on major decisions about me, my daughter who is a nurse makes the decisions etc.



Here is who I want making medical decisions for me when I am not able to make my own decisions
1._______________ 2._____________ 3._______________

stanford letterWhat I DO NOT want at the end of my life
☐ I do not want to be on a breathing machine
☐ I do not want artificial liquid feeding
☐ I do not want dialysis
☐ I do not want to spend my last days in a hospital
☐ Idonotwanttodieathome
☐ Other


What I DO WANT at the end of life
☐ I want to be pain free
☐ I want to spend my the last days in the hospital
☐ I want you to help me die gently and naturally
☐ I want to die at home
☐ I want hospice care
☐ Other

If my pain and distress are difficult to control, please sedate me (make with sleep with sleep medicines) even if this means that I may die sooner
☐ Yes ☐ No

What to do when my family wants you to do something different than what I want for myself?
☐ I am asking you to show them this letter and guide my family to follow my wishes.
☐ I want you to override my wishes as my family knows best.
☐ Other information you want to convey

Please scan this letter into my medical records in a place where your colleagues can read this and be guided by it. I thank you doctor for listening to me now and for the future work you are about to do guided by what matters most to me.

Your grateful patient, ____________________________

View this full document, and others in different languages HERE

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