Hope for the Best, Plan for the Rest

7 Keys for Navigating a Life-Changing Diagnosis

Dr. Sammy Winemaker and Dr. Hsien Seow

The essential guide for every patient and family

The doctor’s office called. It’s not good news. What comes next? When you are diagnosed with a life-changing illness, it can be overwhelming. While your diagnosis cannot be changed, the way you experience your illness can.

In Hope for the Best, Plan for the Rest, Dr. Seow and Dr. Winemaker have combined their decades of palliative care research and experience in caring for seriously ill patients. They have harnessed the advice of thousands of patients to create a road map that every patient and family will benefit from. In it, they share the seven keys to unlock a better illness experience and reveal stories, tips, and exercises to improve your journey right from diagnosis. These two compassionate experts empower you with practical tools to take charge of your life-changing diagnosis and navigate the health care system with confidence, knowledge, and calm.

This book is about hope in the face of uncertainty. It’s about how to live well, be fully informed, and be activated. How to feel more like a person, not a patient. But most of all, how to be hopeful and prepared at every step along the way.


“This is a much-needed book. The authors offer an engaging, positive, and helpful set of principles to people who are sick, their close supporters, and those who want to help them navigate the challenge of serious illness—including dying—their way. This book is like a conversation with a wise coach on adapting the system so that health care is tailored to your individual preferences. Hope for the Best, Plan for the Rest is kind, clear, and system-changing: a clarion call for a patient-led revolution in health care.”

“A lightning bolt of hope! This book shows patients and families struggling with serious illness how to get the honest, personalized care they need. Hope for the Best, Plan for the Rest is a palliative care tour de force and essential reading for all who feel overwhelmed and alone in the health care system, along with the clinicians who care for them.”

Hope for the Best, Plan for the Rest offers succinct, practical tips for getting the best care and living well through the course of your illness.”


“Shout it from the rooftops, the Waiting Room Revolution has begun! With Drs. Sammy Winemaker and Hsien Seow leading the charge, no patient or family member will face illness with their eyes wide shut ever again!”

“Drs. Sammy Winemaker and Hsien Seow are leading a revolution—one we all need to be a part of! Get planning! Their decades of research, as well as clinical and lived experience, are compiled here to provide readers with essential keys to navigating illness. Do yourself a favor: read this book and make sure your family and friends do too!”

“This rigorous and compassionate book—the result of two thought leaders’ experiences in research and medical practice—helps to dispel the chaos and uncertainty of receiving a new and life-changing diagnosis. Drs. Sammy Winemaker and Hsien Seow are wise and relentless guides who offer practical and hard-won advice that will empower people to take charge of their health and destiny no matter what they face.”


Samantha Winemaker, MD, is a palliative care physician who cares for patients with serious illness and their families in the home. She is an Associate Clinical Professor at McMaster University in the Department of Family Medicine, Division of Palliative Care. She has won numerous awards for her leadership and palliative care education for health care professionals.

Hsien Seow, PhD, is the Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care and Health System Innovation and an Associate Professor in the Department of Oncology, McMaster University. He publishes health care research focused on improving the patient and family experience for those facing serious illness. He is the co-author of The Tao of Innovation: 9 Questions Every Innovator Must Answer.

ISBN 978-1-77458-296-1
$24.95 CAD $19.95 USD
Published September 19, 2023
5.5 × 8.5 272 Pages
Paperback, ebook, audiobook