What is an Advance Care Plan and why should we all have one?
An advance care plan is a plan of action that comes into place when you can no longer make informed decisions on your own behalf. It is important to have a conversation with your substituted decision maker (or agent) in regards to the type of care you wish to receive.
By creating an advance care plan and sharing this with your health care team and family members, you will give them the confidence in the decisions they make for you. This plan may also include financial and legal plans for the future.
Remember that you are able to change your care plan at any time, if your wishes change, or if your health care status changes, you may also just want to change your care plan. Making a plan is an important conversation to have with your loved ones regarding the end of life, and you want to ensure that your wishes and values are respected and represented.
Here are some steps to setting up a care plan from the Speak Up campaign for Advance Care Planning:
- Think about what is right for you- what are your wishes and how would you like to be treated at your end of life? What are your fears and values?
- Learn about end of life care options and procedures in your province or territory to stay informed about what documentation or procedures are used. Visit Speak up: your province or territory
- Decide who will make decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so- who will be your substituted decision maker or agent?
- Start the conversation- discuss you plan with your loved ones and health care team your plan.
- Document your wishes- ensure you acquire the appropriate documentation and take copies should you need emergency health care.
An advance care plan starts with a conversation about your values and wishes for your health care. Everyone over the age of 18 has the right to make an advance care plan to outline their values and wishes.