April 16th is National Advance Care Planning Day – a day where we are all encouraged to reflect on our values, wishes and beliefs in advance of choices regarding possible future health care treatments and personal decisions.
Route 65 recommends that all capable adults, regardless of their current health, have an advance care plan in place. If someone must make a health care treatment or personal decision on your behalf, having an advance care plan ensures that your substitute decision maker has the instruction or guidance they will need to make challenging decisions.
What is Advance Care Planning?
Advance care planning is the process of planning for the future in a way that is consistent with your personal values, wishes and beliefs.
It is also important to share your wishes with those close to you, including family, friends, or your primary health care providers, in the event you are unable to make decisions about your own health care treatment.
An Advance Care Plan is usually focused on medical decisions, but is part of a broader personal planning process that can also include a Representation Agreement, an Advance Directive, or an Enduring Power of Attorney
A representation agreement allows an adult to appoint a trusted person to make health and personal decisions on their behalf, like what medical care they will or will not receive. It is also possible to use a representation agreement to appoint someone to make certain kinds of legal decisions or to manage routine financial affairs.
Advance directives are used to document specific directions or instructions to be carried out by a medical professional, should a person become incapable. For example, a person may indicate that they do not want to receive antibiotics, should they get an infection in hospital.
Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints another person to be responsible for their legal and financial affairs, should they be unable to make those kinds of decisions. This document would allow someone to manage banking affairs, or sell a vehicle which is no longer being used, for example. This document can also be used to empower someone to sell real estate.
How do I start my Advance Care Planning?
Route 65 sat down with the Advance Care Planning team at Fraser Health to talk about how they are promoting Advance Care Planning Day in B.C. Here are some tips they have for Route 65 readers who may be looking to start developing an Advance Care Plan:
Start the conversations
After you think about your values, beliefs, wishes and consider the care you might want in the future, discussions with family and friends can decrease their anxiety and help them feel confident when they need to make decisions on your behalf.
Starting the conversations with a loved one:
Starting the conversations with your doctor:
Learn More about Advance Care Planning
Start your Advance Care Plan today by visiting the B.C. Government’s planning guidebook here.