No written will, no way for loved ones to know

No advanced care planning, no way anyone can ensure your health care decisions are known and acted upon if you aren't able to communicate

All of us know the expression, “Where there is a will, there is a way” and perhaps we’ve even used it when we want to motivate someone, (maybe ourselves), that with determination achieving something or anything is possible.

As I thought about a topic for this week’s column, it struck me that the same expression could be used for advanced planning or care planning.

Get it?

In other words: No written will, no way anyone knows how you want your legacy known. No advanced care planning, no way anyone can ensure your health care decisions are known and acted upon if you aren’t able to communicate.

National Advanced Care Planning Day is April 16 and clearly I’m not setting a very good example in advanced planning; by the time this column is printed, the day will have come and gone.

Ahem, let’s carry on shall we?

According to the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, “Advance care planning is a process of reflection and communication, a time for you to reflect on your values and wishes, and to let others know your future health and personal care preferences in the event that you become incapable of consenting to or refusing treatment or other care.”

In other words, it’s about talking to your loved ones about what kind of health-care decisions you’d like to make if you couldn’t use your own voice to do so. A 2012 Ipsos Reid study showed that over 85 per cent of Canadians hadn’t heard of advanced care planning and 50 per cent of us haven’t broached the topic with family and friends.

Our family was among these statistics.

Back in 2006, my Dad had a massive stroke followed by a grand mal seizure rendering him unconscious. After three days of no improvement and showing no signs of change, our family had to make the painful decision of taking him off life support. Although we presumed to know what his wishes were, there wasn’t 100 per cent certainty that Dad would have voiced to take him off life support. Although we don’t dwell on the “what-if scenarios” and I think as a family we made the right decision, all of us would have felt more reassured and at peace if Dad had assigned a Substitute Decision Maker (someone to make medical and treatment decisions on behalf of another person when they can’t communicate their own wishes).

The Speak Up campaign is about encouraging families and individuals to talk about their health care wishes.  There are a few places to start:

•    Check out the National Advanced Care Planning website and How to Make a Plan at http://www.advancecareplanning.ca/about-advance-care-planning.aspx

•    Get involved locally with the Comox Valley Advanced Care Planning at http://www.advancecareplanningcv.ca/

•    Read more on Incapacity Planning:  Representation Agreements and Enduring Powers of Attorney at http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/incapacity-planning

Over the next month, I’ll find local experts to share on advanced care planning; power of attorney, representation agreements, end of life care planning, wills and estates.

Wendy Johnstone is a gerontologist and is the founder of Keystone Eldercare Solutions. Her column runs in the Comox Valley Record every second Thursday.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two of the weapons seized in a Nov. 8 traffic stop in Black Creek. Photo supplied by RCMP
RCMP seize guns, drugs in Black Creek traffic stop

Two arrested in connection with incident

Christmas will look a bit different in Cumberland this year, not only because of COVID restrictions but due to changes from BC Hydro about hanging decorations on the poles. Record file photo
Snowflakes a no-go for Cumberland’s power poles

Village, business association looking to promote shopping local for holidays

The Trenton Golden Hawks are changing their name and uniform for one game on Nov. 27 as they become the Trenton Snowbirds for one game to honour Capt. Jennifer Casey. Twitter photo
Hockey team honouring fallen Snowbird with Comox Valley connection

The Trenton Golden Hawks will become the Trenton Snowbirds for one game

A late-blooming Welsh poppy gave the Cox garden some unexpected colour last month. Photo by Leslie Cox
DUCHESS OF DIRT: La Nina signs not necessarily steeped in science

LESLIE COX Special to The Record I am beginning to think climate… Continue reading

The suspect is described as approximately 20-25 years old, between 5’3 to 5’4, with dark hair. He was wearing black Adidas pants, white shoes, and a puffy grey jacket. Photo supplied
Attempted robbery in Courtenay

Investigators from the Comox Valley RCMP Major Crime Unit are investigating

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

3L Developments president Dave Dutcyvich is pictured during a 2018 meeting at the regional district boardroom. File photo
Denied developer prefers not to log Comox Valley land: Planner

At its inaugural meeting Tuesday, the Comox Valley Regional District board refused… Continue reading

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Picture of two swans leaving the Cowichan estuary moments before one was shot out of the sky. (Submitted photo)
Petition to stop hunting in Cowichan estuary after swan shot

Hunters blame shooting on illegal poachers

Most Read