Your Health

Advanced Care Planning

Frequently asked questions

What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning is a term used to describe the process
of thinking about and documenting the kind of health care you would like to receive if you are unable to speak for yourself. It usually involves creating a Health Care Directive.

What is a Health Care Directive?

A Health Care Directive is a legal document that directs healthcare providers in the case you are unable to make decisions or communicate your wishes about your health care. It may outline any treatments you may wish or refuse to accept, and may also name a proxy(s) who will speak for you.

How do I start the process of developing a Health Care Directive?

Start by talking. Talk to your family and friends about what health care you would like, in a case where you cannot speak for yourself. Talking about what you want will reduce anxiety on the part of your family and friends. It will give them the confidence they are acting out your wishes, should that become necessary.

Where should I keep my Health Care Directive?

You should keep one copy at home. Your proxy(s) should have a copy. Keep a copy in your file at your family doctor's office. Take a copy with you when you travel. Bring a copy with you when being admitted to hospital, and prior to surgery.

How often should I change the content of my Health Care Directive?

Review the content of your HCD once a year, or when your health condition changes, in order to be sure it is still what you want now and in the future. Your health-care provider may suggest changes to be considered.

How do I decide on my proxy?

You should consider the person who you feel is best able to follow out your wishes, if you are unable to speak for yourself. Your parents, spouse, children and their spouses, or family friends could all serve as a proxy. You can have more than one proxy, to cover the event one cannot be reached in case of emergency. The proxies can be listed in order, and you can decide if they must reach a consensus, or can act alone.

Is this legal?

Yes. A Health Care Directive is a legal written document in which you tell health-care providers what care you want, if you are unable to speak for yourself. If you are unable to make decisions about your care, you can name a proxy to speak for you. The proxy can legally make decisions for you. It is important to be sure that your family, friends, your doctor and your proxy know you have a directive and know where it can be found.

How will my care be planned?

Your care will be planned with you. Speak with your family and your doctor about your thoughts about future health care. Talk about any medical condition you have, and how you expect to be treated. Tell them your concerns, expectations and preferences.

Will care be withdrawn, if I request a Do Not Resuscitate Order?

A DNR does not mean that your care will stop. It simply means that cardio-pulmonary resuscitation will not be tried. You will still receive other treatment and care to keep you comfortable. Decisions about DNR may change over time as circumstances change. You or your proxy can discuss this plan with your doctor at any time.

About Wave

Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.

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