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A Conversation That Can Change Your Life

Advance Care Planning

Imagine the unthinkable: you have been severely injured, or are suddenly too ill to speak for yourself and cannot make your own health care decisions. Who will speak for you? How will you know your health care wishes are being met? Ensure your voice will be heard by having that conversation today; a conversation that could, one day, be the most important one you have ever had.

This is tough stuff, but often the toughest conversations are the most important. Advance care planning means talking with those closest to you about what you want if you can no longer think or speak for yourself. You may even want to write down your wishes and consider including your doctor or lawyer. While we hope that you will never be in a position that you will need that support, it is better to be prepared, have comfort that your voice will be heard and your wishes honoured.

According to research, patients’ end-of-life care wishes are only noted in medical records 30% of the time, but you can end this trend by talking to your family and doctors about what care you want in your final days.

Starting these conversations is the hardest part. Tragedy knows no boundaries and illness favours no age, so it is important that all of us, at any age, start the conversation.

To give you some ideas, start by thinking about your wishes on:

• Who you want to ask to be your legal substitute decision-maker, just in case you ever need one
• End-of-life care
• Hospice care
• Long-term care

For more information, please see the resources on the Advanced Care Planning website:
www.advancecareplanning.ca.
Advance Care Planning: It’s about conversations. It’s about decisions. It’s how we care for each other.

April 16th is Advanced Care Planning Day

This article (along with the photo) has been written and submitted by:  Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network, Chatham, ON

For more information about the Erie St. Clair LHIN, please visit: www.eriestclairlhin.on.ca or contact Andrew Tompsett, Lead Communications and Public Affairs Erie St. Clair LHIN,
at 519 351-5677 ext. 3209 or Andrew.Tompsett@lhins.on.ca

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