April 16 is National Advance Care Planning Day. If this blog is the only place you are hearing about Advance Care Planning today, then please share it, because it likely means you are not alone! This is the ‘Speak Up’ campaign and by making this a National event, it serves as an important reminder that we need to think about and write down our wishes, on how we want to live out our days and how we care for each other. Advance Care Planning “is a way to help you think about, talk about and document your wishes for health care. It is a process that can assist you in making healthcare decisions now and for the future.”
According to the Commonwealth Fund 2014 International Health Policy of Older Adults, Canada takes this seriously and was ranked third among 11 surveyed countries, behind Germany and the United States, on having discussions about end-of-life care.
I am ‘speaking up’ and would like to share the Advance Care Planning’s news release with you.
“Most of us instinctively put on our seatbelts when we get into a car. And we know it’s a good idea to put on a helmet before getting on a bike. So why haven’t the majority of Canadians also taken the precaution of planning for their future health care?
A recent Harris-Decima poll revealed that only 45% of Canadians have talked to someone about their future health care preferences, despite the fact that the majority of them believe it is important to do so. Advance Care Planning, a process of communicating your future health care wishes and naming a Substitute Decision Maker to speak for you if you are unable to do so, offers a way to start those conversations.
“Advance Care Planning is just another positive choice, like wearing your seatbelt or safety gear when you take part in a physical activity,” says Louise Hanvey, the Project Director for the Advance Care Planning in Canada Initiative. “When you make an advance care plan, you’re making a healthy lifestyle choice for yourself – and for those around you.”
The Advance Care Planning in Canada Initiative recommends 5 steps for doing advance care planning:
1. THINK about what’s important to you
2. LEARN about different medical procedures and what they can or can’t do
3. DECIDE on a substitute decision maker – someone who is willing and able to speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself
4. TALK about your wishes with your loved ones
5. RECORD your wishes – write them down or make a recording”
Please ‘Speak Up’ and start the conversation. You will be glad you did and so will your loved ones.