The Conversation of Your Life (COYL) program provides free education, support, and resources to help you and those who matter most to you make decisions about the type of care you would want in a medical emergency or serious illness.

COYL hosts educational community events across the state. Check the calendar to see upcoming in-person and virtual events where you can learn more or get help.

Find Upcoming Events

3 Easy Steps to Help You Get Started

Click on each step below to view trusted resources. These will help you think about the kind of care you want to receive and how you can have these often-difficult conversations with others.

Step 1: Consider What is Most Important to You

If something were to happen to you, how would you want others to care for you? You’ll need to think about what matters to you so you can decide what type of care is most important.

Use our Preparing for the Unexpected one-pager to help you start thinking about your wishes for care. It has links to games, videos, podcasts, and more.

Click here to view Preparing for the Unexpected

One way to help you think and talk about what matters is to read books, articles, videos, and movies.

Click here for books to read Click here for our Watchlist

View the What Matters to Me workbook from The Conversation Project to help you think about what you want so that you get the care you want.

Click here for the workbook

Attend an in-person or virtual COYL event to learn more about your options for care.

Click here to find upcoming events

Step 2: Communicate Your Wishes

Share your decisions with those who matter most so that they know how to care for you if you become unable to speak for yourself. Too often, the care we want is not the care we actually get. Sharing your wishes ahead of time can prevent this problem for you.

How do I start talking about my wishes with people who matter to me?

Use The Conversation Starter Guide by The Conversation Project to help you talk about your wishes. Another great tool is Five Wishes which you’ll learn more about in Step 3.

Click here for the Conversation Starter Guide

Who will be my health care proxy?

A health care proxy is someone who makes decisions for you if you become unable to speak for yourself. Watch “Who Will Speak For You” to learn more about choosing the right person.

View the Who Will Speak For You video

How do I talk about this with my health care provider?

Making medical decisions can be difficult. The 4-step iCare Plan by the Goals of Care Coalition of NJ can walk you through having a conversation your doctor, nurse, social worker, or others.

Click here for the 4-step iCare Plan

Step 3: Create a Written Plan and Share It

Put your wishes in writing and share them with your health care providers and those who matter most to you. An advance directive is a legal form that has all your wishes for care written down – so if a medical emergency or serious illness happens, other people will know how to care for you.

There are different types of advance directives you can use. Here are a few of them:

Five Wishes includes your personal, spiritual, medical, and legal wishes in one document. You don’t need an attorney or health care provider to complete this form, but you do need two witnesses.

Click here for Five Wishes

My Directives helps you create or upload an advance directive online for easy sharing with others.

Click here to create or share your advance directive online

NJ POLST – The Practitioner Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment, or POLST, form helps those with a life-limiting illness, or near the end of their life, get the care they want. This form must be filled out with your doctor, advance practice nurse, or physician assistant.

Click here for the New Jersey POLST form

Click here for the New York MOLST form

Click here for the Pennsylvania POLST form


Check out even more COYL resources and recorded educational sessions below.