Clifford Celebrates National Advance Care Planning Day
Clifford celebrates national Advance Care Planning Day
The Minto Express – www.mintoexpress.com
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
BY BONNIE WHITEHEAD – SPECIAL TO THE EXPRESS
CLIFFORD – Streamers and balloons adorned the Salem Room on Friday, April 15 for congregate dining at the Knox United Church in Clifford in celebration of National Advance Care Planning Day.
Seniors Centre for Excellence services co-ordinator Helen Edwards welcomed over 40 people and invited Laverne Housser to offer grace before dining on chicken lasagna, caesar salad, green beans with almond slivers, and garlic bread. Specialty cake and ice cream were served for dessert. The lunch was catered by Donna Gingrich and served with help from Fran Dawson and Helen Edwards.
Jessica Hutchison, community engagement lead for Hospice Waterloo Region, kicked off the ‘Conversation Worth Having’ presentation, a three-year project funded by the government to inform the general public, community professionals, and health care providers about the essential elements of advance care planning.
While you are alive, you need to have a conversation to determine who will be your ‘substitute decision maker’ (SDM) if you were unable to make decisions about your personal care.
When you can’t understand the health care information being offered, you are considered mentally incapable. You need to discuss your wishes and choose someone you trust to speak for you when you can’t.
This person must be trustworthy, willing and able, available, and takes time to chat about what is important to you. Share your care wishes with the rest of the family and other loved ones in your circle of friends.
Illness and accidents can happen any time and medical decisions will need to be made in a timely fashion. Perhaps you were in an accident and are too hurt to make decisions or are unresponsive and comatose. Doctors cannot act on their own, they need the permission of their patient, unless it is an emergency situation.
Advance care planning is for the living; estate planning and wills take affect after you die.
According to the Health Care Consent Act of 1996, ‘The Hierarchy of Substitute Decision Makers’ lists the highest-ranking person who can act on your behalf. Choose a court-appointed guardian, spouse, parent, child, sibling, any other living relative, or public guardian trustee or choose someone through a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, not to be confused with a Power of Attorney for Property. Once you decide, fill out the contact information on the wallet card and leave it in your wallet for first responders to find.
Hutchison shared true stories emphasizing the need to choose a trusted family member or friend. 1. You are young. You have lived with your boyfriend for one year, so you are now legally in a common law relationship. Technically he is your spouse. This person will be your substitute decision maker unless otherwise clarified verbally or in writing. This person outranks your mom or dad on the hierarchy list. 2. A mother talked to her daughter about not wanting to be left on life support if something happened. The daughter verified she would like to have her mother live forever. The mother chose the son to be her substitute decision maker, as he agreed to honour her wishes. 3. When a parent chooses all of their children as the substitute decision maker, then all the children must agree on the treatment of care before the doctors can proceed. If an argument ensues, then there must be one chosen that has the final say. 4. Even people living in shelters who have no family still need a substitute decision maker as the doctors still need to ask for consent for any procedure.
A video showed how emotional the conversation process can be making people feel uneasy, uncomfortable, and unable to address the topic of death. How do you start the conversation and discuss the question of dying at home, no hospital care, and no life support? The ‘talk’ changes through the stages of life, however with love and respect decisions can be made guilt free.
Hutchison encouraged everyone to pick a SDM, talk to them about your wishes, fill out the wallet card, and share the talk with loved ones. The advance care plan will benefit the health care team and alleviate the stress and anxiety for the family.
Program lead Sheli O’Connor set out a literature display and handed everyone a tote bag to fill with a workbook and pamphlets.
When you have a story to tell about finding your SDM, give them a call. The team can be contacted by calling Advance Care Planning Waterloo Wellington at 519- 743-4114 or at their e-mail addresses email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; and email@example.com.
This meeting was sponsored by the Seniors Centre for Excellence located in Drayton at 519-638-1000.