Do you Have Your Advance Care Plan in Place?

Advanced Care PlanDo you Have Your Advance Care Plan in Place? An Advance Care Plan is a process of conversations and decisions while you are of capacity. Reflecting your values, beliefs, goals, wishes, resources and faith, an Advance Care Plan outlines your wishes concerning future care.

Future Care takes into consideration your wishes concerning personal hygiene, nutrition, shelter clothing, safety, as well as health care, medical treatments, services or interventions. In the event of a sudden and unexpected incapacity such as car accident; or a longer progressive incapacity such as Alzheimer’s disease, your Advance Care Plan outlines your wishes for future health and personal care preferences in the event you are incapable of consenting to or refusing medical treatment or other care.

Once you have considered and discussed your options and wishes. you appoint a Substitute Decision Maker. A Substitute Decision Maker is a person of capacity, at least 16 years of age and not paid to provide you with personal care. This person is a person you trust who is capable and willing to be your voice in the event of your incapacity. An Advance Care Plan can also include writing down your personal and health care wishes.

A March 2012 Ipsos-Reid national poll found that 86% of Canadians had not heard of Advance Care Planning. Further very few people have had this conversation with their family members or medical team. Results from the ACCEPT study (Advance Care Planning Evaluation in Hospitalized Elderly Patients) found that 48% of patients had completed an advance care plan and 73% named a Substitute Decision Maker, yet only 30% of the respondents had told their Physician about this.
This is a tough conversation. Yet refusing to talk about this does not mitigate the issue.

Research shows that when there is an Advance Care Plan in place, the family members are more likely to be satisfied with the medical care provided or withheld. Further there is less strain on the caregivers as fewer aggressive interventions are required at the end of life. Additionally the caregivers are more likely to consider hospice resources in the community or choose to die at home.

Once you have an written Advance Care Plan, you need to share this with you Substitute Decision Maker and your medical team. A copy of your wishes can also be included in your medical file. As our lives change and evolve so to can our Advance Care Plan.  While we often don’t want to think about our eventual death – this is also inevitable.

For more information about Advance Care Plan, please click here.

I welcome your feedback. You can connect with me via phone or email, leave a comment right here on the site, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,


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