Monday, March 16, 2009

Advance Care Planning

-Canadian Elder Law
An advanced directive is a legal document prepared and signed by a person in advance of a severe illness or injury, which will guide health care providers when providing health care and treatment. It may give instructions -- i.e., state what treatment or care someone wants to receive or not receive if he or she becomes unable to make medical decisions (for example, because he/she is unconscious or in a coma). A health care directive is also used to plan in advance for situations where a person is no longer mentally capable of making her or his own health care decisions.

It is important to be proactive. Communicate to your family your wishes and needs once you are no longer able to function. This is a plan, not a treatment plan, but a conversation you have, perhaps a legal document, of how you want to be treated in the event of incapacitation on your part as a patient.

It is crucial that you designate someone to be your Alternate Decision maker, especially if you do not have family members who may fulfill that role. In the case of this necessity, there is a series of choices the medical profession will go to to in a hierarchical order.

The issue is when you are no longer able to make your own decisions, your loved ones must know your wishes, and having a legal document gives them the power to do so.

If you begin caregiving for an ill family member the Ontario Government has Labour Code that provides for Employment Insurance (EI) Compassionate Care Benefits. Family members must be at risk of dying within 26 weeks, which is a little bizarre, since physicians do not like to predict death timelines. But maybe that is just me!

Doctors need informed consent, and if you are incapable, they will seek consent from:
  • Brothers or sisters, stepsiblings
  • Grandparents and steps
  • Grandchildren and their spouses
  • Son-in-laws, daughters-in-law
  • Father-in-law, mother-in-law
  • Brother-in-law, sister-in-law
  • Uncles, aunts, their spouses
  • Nephews and nieces, their spouses
  • Current or former foster parents, foster children, wards, guardians
As we become gravely ill, you must determine who you want to make these decisions.

To understand, here is more:
ACE: Advance Care Planning

Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat 

The Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat publishes A Guide to Advance Care Planningwhich is available for free on the Internet or by phoning 1-888-910-1999.

 Power of Attorney for Personal Care (PDF) (POAPC)
• A document in which a person (the grantor) names a substitute decision-maker 
(an attorney) to make personal care decisions, which may include wishes about 
personal care (advance directive portion

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