Who will speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself?
Now is the time to let others know your health care and personal preferences if you are ever unable to speak for yourself, advises the Greater Trail Hospice Society.
The organization invites the community to a “What matters to you?” session in the Trail United Church on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. All are welcome and admission is free. Those interested are encouraged to pre-register with hospice by calling 250.364.6204.
“This is appropriate for all ages,” hospice chairperson Brenda Hooper says. “If you are suddenly unable to speak, what do you want and who is going to speak for you?” she added. “Advance care planning makes your wishes known.”
Sunday is National Advance Care Planning Day, which raises public awareness about the process that prepares individuals and families to make critical healthcare decisions in the future.
Unlike the grey area that was formerly called a “Living Will,” Hooper says the Advance Care Directive is a legal document that Canadian courts have indicated must be respected.
Advance directives can either be instructional, meaning the person states what (or how) health care decisions are to be made when he/she is unable to make these decisions. This type of directive may set out specific instructions or it may set out general principles to be followed for health care decisions.
The second type is called a Proxy Directive, which specifies a person to make respective healthcare decisions. This type of directive is also known as “durable powers of attorney for healthcare”.
The Trail session will involves a card game called “Hello,” which facilitates discussion of personal values.
“Knowing in advance your values, beliefs, and wishes as they relate to health care, will help you get the care that’s right for you,” Hooper said.
Hospice notes that British Columbians are thinking about their future healthcare decisions, but less than half have talked it over with family and friends. Fewer still have documented their wishes or shared them with their doctor.
Last year’s poll by the BC Centre for Palliative Care found that 79 per cent have thought about who would make decisions for them; 71 per cent have thought about what matters most for their healthcare; 49 per cent have talked with their family about their healthcare wishes; and 21 per cent have documented or recorded their healthcare wishes.
Notably, only 10 per cent have talked with their doctor about their healthcare wishes.