Updated: Mar 3, 2020
Advance Care Planning is a process of personal reflection about what is important to you, and then talking with your family, friends, and physician about your thoughts. Some questions you might ask yourself are:
What gives my life meaning?
Who are the important people in my life?
What makes them important?
What have been my experiences with death and dying?
How did I cope during these times?
How did my family cope?
What medical interventions should I know about?
What might some probable circumstances be with my particular medical condition?
What questions should I ask my physician and healthcare team?
Medical technology has advanced. Individuals who have little chance of recovery can be kept alive. In most cases, people are not able to communicate and tell their loved ones or healthcare team what interventions they might choose.
Therefore, family members and friends make decisions in crisis situations often without knowing what an individual would have wanted. Unless you have talked with your family and friends about your values, beliefs, and possible medical interventions, they simply do not know.
Advance Care Planning conversations are often difficult to start. Some friends and family might have troubles talking about end-of-life care. This process allows family members and friends to grieve together, to advocate for one another, become closer, and in the end, have a peaceful end-of-life experience. There is also less family conflict, burden and stress, diminished fear and anxiety, and an enhanced sense of control.
This process gives individuals an increased satisfaction with their healthcare providers in regards to communication and care. At all times, healthcare providers must communicate with you, discuss medical treatment options, and ensure you have time to ask questions and understand the risks and benefits of options presented.
In British Columbia, you must be a capable adult over the age of 19 to make an Advance Care Plan. Your family or friends cannot make an Advance Care Plan for you. Only you can make one for yourself.
Advance Care Planning conversations are the gifts we give our family and friends. We plan for various events and milestones in our lives, such as birthdays and anniversaries. Some people write wills and others plan their memorial service.
We need to have Advance Care Planning conversations.
Healthcare providers and your family and friends want what is best for you. They want to honor your wishes. But if they don’t know what your wishes are, they can’t follow them.
Talking together is the answer.
The Quesnel & District Hospice Palliative Care Association supports the education of families and caregivers in order to better understand the importance of issues we all face at the end of life.
That is why the QDHPCA offers a variety resources for you to explore. Under our News & Articles section called Preparing for Dying, there are articles regarding Advance Care Planning.
We also have under the Useful Websites tab, we have weblinks to sites that discuss Advance Care Planning and your options.
The QDHPCA also offer two types of education sessions each spring and autumn on how to start these conversations with your loved ones.
Session #1 - "Think, Talk, Plan"
This session addresses the need for for people to think about what their family, loved ones, and their physician needs to know in regards to their healthcare plan. Who would be your spokesperson if you were unable to speak for yourself? How do you start this conversation with your chosen substitute decision maker?
Session #2 - "Speak Up"
This session is to help fill out the "Speak Up" forms. This is not an easy task, but is a worthwhile gift of knowledge for your family, loved ones, and designated decision-maker so they know how to honor your wishes.
If you are interest in attending an upcoming session, please RSVP on the Advance Care Planning Event page or on our Facebook page.