But if you became ill and couldn’t speak for yourself, would your community know your wishes? Do they know who would speak for you? April 16, National Advance Care Planning Day, is the perfect time to think about these things.
Advance care planning is thinking about your wishes for future care and talking about them with your Substitute Decision Maker, someone who will speak for you and make medical decisions if you can’t speak for yourself.
It’s also important to share your wishes with others who can support your Substitute Decision Maker, such as family members and friends.
The Advance Care Planning in Canada’s Speak Up website (www.advancecareplanning.ca) has free, downloadable resources for advance care planning, including workbooks, videos, wallet cards and conversation starters, as well as resources and information about legal requirements for each province and territory.
The website also features a toolkit for healthcare organizations and health professionals who wish to mark National Advance Care Planning Day with an event or activity.
Talking with your Substitute Decision Maker is essential, but it’s also important to talk with others who can support your Substitute Decision Maker during a stressful time.
“Research shows that advance care planning significantly reduces stress and anxiety for those who are making medical decisions for others,” says Project Director Louise Hanvey. “You can reduce that stress and manage potential conflicts about your care by telling your community — your family, close friends and health team — what’s important to you.”
For more information, contact Vanessa Bartlett, Regional Palliative Care Coordinator, 709-454-0665, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org