Advance care planning is a process of reflection and communication that takes place across your lifespan. It is a time for you to reflect on your beliefs, values, and wishes and it is a time to let others know your health care and personal preferences if you are ever unable to speak for yourself. Advance care planning means having discussions with family and friends, as well as your health care, financial, and legal professionals. It may also include writing down your wishes and naming a designated ‘Representative’ as someone you choose to be your spokesperson in a time of need.
Having the conversation can provide a shared understanding of what matters most to you and your loved ones and simply having the talk can make all the difference. Ted Hicks, CVHS Volunteer says, “It is never too early to begin, but it can be too late”.
As conversations about advance care planning are taking place in homes and communities throughout our region we invite you to join us in helping individuals of all ages to better understand how advance care planning practices can improve care. Having these conversations can help to address some of the issues that may arise if you are ever unable to consent to or refuse treatment or other care.
“New incapacity (or personal) planning legislation came into force in B.C. on September 1, 2011 providing adults with more options for expressing their wishes about future health care decisions. The legislation allows capable adults to put plans into place that outline the health care treatments they consent to or refuse based on their beliefs, values and wishes. If no decision/plan is in place, B.C.’s health care consent legislation gives regulated health care providers specific direction regarding who they must choose to make decisions on a person’s behalf.”
Any living will or advance care planning document prepared prior to the legislation change in September 2011 is not considered legally binding consent or a refusal of treatment. These documents are now considered an expression of an individual’s wishes and may be used to guide one’s health care team and temporary substitute decision maker as they make decisions about the individual's future care. These documents are not a substitute for an advance care plan.
At the provincial level the BC Ministry of Health, in partnership with Fraser Health Authority and other health care providers has developed an advance care planning guide, My VOICE - Expressing My Wishes for Future Health Care Treatment, to assist people in preparing their own plans. This guide is an invaluable resource to help British Columbians to have conversations with close family members and their care providers about their advance care planning options and preferences. Appropriate forms are included in the guide as well.
Since the personal planning legislation came into effect there are a number of other resources that are available to assist community members aged 19 and over to start the conversation about advance care planning. Locally, VIFOH's website at: http://www.advancecareplanningvi.ca/ provides a number of tools and resources to help guide you in having the conversation and developing a personal advance care plan that is appropriate for you.
You may never need your advance care plan but, if you do, you and your loved ones will be glad it is there. An advance care plan is a gift you give to those closest to you and will help guide your health care providers when you need it most. Through your personalized advance care plan you ensure that your voice is heard even when you are unable to speak for yourself. These plans are meant to be living documents enabling you to regularly review and make changes whenever you wish.
So give yourself and those your love a gift from the heart and consider having advance care planning on your ‘bucket list’.
National Advance Care Planning Day is Wednesday April 16th, 2014
You are warmly invited to attend an Open House at Berwick Retirement Home, 1700 Comox Avenue, Comox.
1:30 – 4:30 pm - Educational Open House and Conversations about Advance Care Planning. Resource materials will be available
5:30 – 7:30 pm – Advance Care Planning Reception and heARTful Expressions Exhibition. Refreshments and Live Music
Information adapted from materials graciously provided by the Comox Valley Hospice Society.
For further information about the Comox events, contact:
Comox Valley Hospice Society 250-339-5533
For more information on Advance Care Planning:
Alberni Valley Hospice Society 250-723-4478
Or visit http://www.advancecareplanningvi.ca/ for events and resources