By the BC Hospice Palliative Care Association
Although 80 per cent of Canadians believe Advance Care Plans are important, less than one in five actually have one.
April 16th is National Advance Care Planning Day in Canada and the BC Hospice Palliative Care Association (BCHPCA) is encouraging British Columbians and Yukoners to set aside time between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to talk openly with their family, friends, and loved ones about their values and wishes.
“Starting the conversation about what would be most important to you in a health care emergency is the first, and crucial, step in developing your own personalized Advance Care Plan,” says Pablita Thomas, executive director of BCHPCA.
“It’s never too early to start your own Advance Care Plan, but sometimes it can be too late.”
Advance Care Planning is the process of thinking and talking about your wishes, values, and preferences for your future health and personal care, in the event you are unable to speak for
yourself. Advance Care Plans also include the assignment of a representative to make decisions on your behalf.
The information within your Advance Care Plan is used during conversations with healthcare providers to help get you the treatments and care that is right for you.
“There are many gifts of Advance Care Planning,” says Donna Flood, President of BCHPCA.“Advance Care Planning provides you with peace of mind, knowing that others know your healthcare wishes in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself. For your family and friends, it reduces their burden, stress, and conflict by providing clear guidance for decision making on your behalf. And, it assists health care providers by knowing who will be making your health care decisions, reducing confusion in order to provide the best care specific to you.”
It is not always an easy conversation to have. Local Hospice Palliative Care Societies provide education to assist with understanding the Advance Care Planning process.
There are also many excellent online resources, including the Advance Care Planning website at www.advancecareplanning.ca where you can find information, tools, and prompts to start having these conversations.
The BCHPCA has also curated an Advance Care Planning page as a provincial and territorial resource from the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and BC Center for Palliative Care to guide your discussions.
On April 16 start your own conversation and give the gift of an Advance Care Plan to yourself, to your loved ones, and to your health care providers for peace of mind.
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About the BCHPCA:
The BC Hospice Palliative Care Association is a not-for-profit, public membership organization, which has been representing individuals and organizations committed to promoting and
delivering hospice palliative care to British Columbians and Yukoners for over 34 years. Our members provide a broad range of hospice palliative care programs and services to people in
need across the province of B.C. and the Yukon with serious illnesses, their loved ones who are grieving, and their caregivers.
The services hospice societies deliver are accessible to all, regardless of the type of illness, age, sex, sexual orientation, race, culture, and religious beliefs.