Monday, December 23, 2013

Dying with dignity: resource kit for an advance care plan

From Dying With Dignity: Download Your Free Resource Kit 

We Want to Help You Have the Talk! 

My father-in-law deserved better. This wonderful, warm-hearted, fun-loving man ended his days in a care home, tied to a chair to protect himself and others from his dementia-related aggression. He would never have wanted to live that way. Yet in the last years of his life, he was repeatedly given antibiotics - life-saving treatments for infections and influenza. If only he had completed anadvance care plan, it could have been so very different.

My father in law had the right to refuse treatment (a key patient right).  He could have refused the antibiotics that kept his body alive even as his mind was betraying him.  And with an advance care plan we could have communicated that decision when he was no longer competent to do so himself.

If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot communicate (for example, you've been in a motor vehicle accident, or had a sudden heart attack) what medical treatment do you want? The answers should be written in your Advance Care Plan.

With family and friends gathered together, this is a perfect opportunity to discuss and create (or review) your Advance Care Plan.

Failure to communicate your wishes now could rip your family apart later.  Health professionals have seen adult siblings nearly come to blows because they have different opinions about what to do in times of medical emergency.  Would mom (or dad) have wanted to keep fighting, no matter the odds, or would they have preferred to go in peace?  Sometimes these arguments are so heated that sibling relationships are forever damaged.

This holiday season, leave your family a better legacy.  Download a free Advance Care Planning Kit for your province of residence and make a date for this discussion.  You'll find all the resources you need to create your Advance Care Plan in our free Kit - including questionnaires that can help you have discussions about your wishes with your family.

On behalf, our our BoardStaff and the members of ourAdvisory Council of Physicians, I wish you and your family the very best of the holiday season: time to relax, time with those you cherish and time to discuss and complete your Advance Care Plan so you can ensure your wishes are followed.

Yours sincerely,

Wanda Morris
Executive Director 

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