On Friday, April 16, the Vancouver Island Federation of Hospices (VIFOH) will host experts from across Vancouver Island to help individuals take the first step in advance care planning. Black Press file photo

On Friday, April 16, the Vancouver Island Federation of Hospices (VIFOH) will host experts from across Vancouver Island to help individuals take the first step in advance care planning. Black Press file photo

Island hospices start conversation on advance care planning

“In life, we try to plan pretty much everything, except anything surrounding death.”

  • Apr. 10, 2021 12:30 p.m.

Ensuring wishes and values for our future health care starts simply, with a conversation.

On Friday, April 16, the Vancouver Island Federation of Hospices (VIFOH) will host experts from across Vancouver Island to help individuals take the first step in advance care planning. The free online panel, Let’s Talk – Conversations on Advance Care Planning, will feature a half-hour discussion and question and answer period.

The panel will be hosted on Zoom and local hospice Facebook pages. The panelists include Dr. Amy Tan – medical director, Victoria Hospice; Marg Budd – Cowichan Hospice Advance Care Planning Trainer; retired nurse Tracy Head – Pacific Rim Hospice volunteer and west coast chef Gretchen Hartley (moderator) – Cowichan Hospice Executive Director.

Tan sees many benefits in having advance care planning conversations with patients in family medicine practice, outside of a health emergency. She also knows personally the importance of these conversations.

“I also have experience as a patient, in that I was in a serious motor vehicle accident in my 20s.”

She describes her husband having to make decisions about treatments and surgery on her behalf. He wasn’t prepared as she didn’t have an advance care plan at the time.

“I hope that everyone can have these important conversations with their loved ones in order to help their future healthcare teams to achieve the goals that are important for them.”

The act of advance care planning involves thinking about your beliefs, values and wishes for future health care. A written advance care plan is a summary of these wishes, ensuring they’re met if the individual becomes incapable of deciding themselves.

“In life, we try to plan pretty much everything, except anything surrounding death,” says Tracy Head, Pacific Rim hospice volunteer and panelist. “I think that advance care planning is important because unlike a lot of things we try to plan, death is inevitable and we can play a part in how things unfold.”

The VIFOH represents all hospice societies across Vancouver Island, including:

● Victoria Hospice

● Cowichan Hospice

● Nanaimo Community Hospice

● Pacific Rim Hospice Society

● Sooke Hospice

● North Island Crisis & Support Society

● Oceanside Hospice

● Alberni Valley Hospice

● Comox Valley Hospice

● Campbell River Hospice

● Home Hospice Program – Gabriola People for a Healthy Community.

Registration is free. Call 250-339-5533 or sign up at https://www.vifoh.org/events Note: For those unable to attend, Comox Valley Hospice Society volunteers offer free advance care planning sessions by appointment. Email reception@comoxhospice.com for more information or visit https://comoxhospice.com/advance-care-planning/

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