WHAT IS ADVANCE CARE PLANNING?
Advance care planning is the process where you make decisions about the care you want to receive should you become unable to speak for yourself. These decisions are typically based on your personal values and preferences as well as on discussions with your loved ones.
You can incorporate these decisions into an Advance Care Plan. Advance care planning ensures you get the care you want and need should something happen that leaves you unable to express your wishes.
The following are four areas of planning you need to consider:
- Health Decisions
- Personal Care
- Financial Planning
- Legal Planning
One important step is to talk to your financial planner and put your paperwork in order. You may also want to ensure you have an Enduring Power of Attorney if you own property or if you have investments or money that needs to be managed. This way you will leave a legacy, not a mess.
Remember, making an Advance Care Plan is voluntary and never mandatory. You should not be coerced into completing one and you can change or cancel these documents at any time.
CHAI Health Advocates can help you put together your Advance Care Planning package. They will help clarify, organize and complete the following documentation:
- Substitute Decision-Maker Document (Representation Agreement in BC, Personal Directive in other provinces) – This is a legal document that nominates a representative to speak on your behalf to ensure your wishes regarding health and medical care are followed should you become unable to speak for yourself.
- Advanced Directive/ Living Will – This is not a legal document but rather an important supporting document that helps you articulate and clarify your personal beliefs and values.
- No CPR/ Medical Levels of Care form – This document has specific medical orders and instructions which guide your care while admitted to the hospital. An Advocate can help you interpret and understand the medical language used in this document.
A patient advocate can also help you and your loved ones discuss palliative, hospice, and other end-of-life options.
IMPORTANT: These documents reflect your current values and beliefs and can be changed at any time should your health condition or situation change.