Advance Care Planning Day 2020
When it comes to planning for your future health care, are you, your family and friends prepared? Have you had a conversation about what your end of life wishes are, or those of your loved ones?
We often assume that others know what we’re thinking, or that our family and friends know what we want. Many are surprised by the difference between what their wishes are for end of life care, and what their loved ones think they want.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to close this gap: have a conversation.
This conversation is especially relevant currently, as we navigate the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a community, we are confronted with the need to consider what we would want for our end of life care. It is especially important to know the wishes of those closest to us, particularly those that are most vulnerable to COVID-19.
So, talk to those around you – your friends, family, and health care providers. Most importantly, talk to your substitute decision makers, as they will be your health care advocate if you are unable to speak for yourself. They should know your values, what is meaningful in your life, and how you would like decisions to be made. If you haven’t designated a substitute decision maker, now is the time to do so!
Dr. Sandy Buchman, President of the Canadian Medical Association and a palliative care physician knows all too well the dangers posed to older Canadians, particularly those living with frailty, by diseases like COVID-19 as well as seasonal illnesses like influenza. Dr. Buchman strongly supports advance care planning discussions among families and clinicians. Watch videos here of Dr. Buchman and his parents, Murray and Faygie Buchman, as they discuss frailty and advance care planning.
Canadian Frailty Network is proud to celebrate National ACP Day on April 16th and we hope that you will participate with us by sharing resources and having these important conversations with your team. If you go to www.advancecareplanning.ca, you can learn more about advance care planning and find free downloadable resources such as workbooks, videos, wallet cards and conversation starters.
The website is run by the Advance Care Planning in Canada “Speak Up” initiative, dedicated to helping all Canadians start planning for their future care. Information available on the website includes:
- Resources are available for you, your family, and your community.
- Legal requirements for advance care planning in different provinces and territories
- Toolkits for healthcare organizations and health professionals who wish to create an event or activity surrounding National Advance Care Planning Day
So, it’s time to check in: do your loved ones know about your wishes? Do you know their wishes? Until you have this conversation, and express your wishes, how will they know?
There are many ways to get this conversation started! It may take a little while to get the conversation started, and it can be emotionally charged, so don’t feel that you need to have the entire conversation at once. The Speak Up initiative has created a playful card game called ‘How Well Do You Know Me?’ that can help you test out your knowledge! Sit down with your loved ones and ask any of the 10 questions to clarify your wishes and values for your future care. This game encourages everyone to learn and ask questions, so that you, your friends, and family are on the same page.
Don’t leave your loved ones in the space between guessing and knowing: have a conversation. Make it a game to see who was paying attention. You can share inspiring conversations or card game results online using the hashtags #ACPDay2020 and #TheyKnowMeWell.
You can use the printable workbooks and quick guides to make your plan today!