April 16 is National Advance Care Planning day and Interior Health is encouraging residents to have conversations and make plans for end-of-life care.
“These conversations are important and desired, but can be difficult to initiate,” said Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid in a press release. “Advances in health care mean we are in a position to intervene and extend lives. At the same time we have an increasingly aged population. These factors combined mean that having a plan in place for end-of-life care is more important than ever.”
The release stated 95 per cent of Intensive Care patients lack decision-making capacity at the time a consent decision is required.
“Providing clients with access to an advance care planning process is a key quality improvement priority for Interior Health. It’s meant to give people an important voice in planning their future health care,” said Interior Health Board Chair Norman Embree.
Interior Health has been conducting training sessions for staff and physicians and disseminating information within communities to help encourage residents in the planning process.
Such planning can reduce stress, depression and anxiety in family members and caregivers during difficult times.“These are important considerations that are best made when we are in good health,” says Interior Health Clinical Practice Educator Janice Vance. “Advance care planning allows us to have our wishes about living and dying respected when we are no longer capable of exercising this control ourselves”.
Interior Health listed three main options within advance care planning that come into effect if you have lost capacity to give or refuse consent at the time care is needed:
1) Talk to loved ones who may act as your Temporary Substitute Decision Maker(s).2) If you’d rather have someone else speak on your behalf, complete a Representation Agreement.3) If you wish to convey specific instructions regarding medical care directly to your doctor, complete an Advance Directive.
More information about the topic can be found at www.interiorhealth.ca. Click the “Your Care” tab, then “End of Life / Hospice Palliative Care” then “Advance Care Planning”.