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Region campaign highlights importance of advance care planning

egion campaign highlights importance of advance care planning

Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, May / June 2011

The Winnipeg Health Region has launched a new web page as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of advance care planning.

Generally speaking, advance care planning is the process of thinking about and documenting the kind of care you would like to receive if you find yourself in a hospital, personal care home or other health-care facility and can no longer speak for yourself.

Launched last month, the Region's web page features a video explaining the importance of advance care planning and a workbook to help people navigate the process. It also contains information on how to create a Health Care Directive, which can be used to provide guidance on what kind of treatment you may or may not want. Click here for more details.

While the concept of advance care planning is not entirely new, health regions across the country are stepping up efforts to encourage Canadians to engage in the process as a way to avoid confusion over end-of-life treatment options for seriously ill patients.

Lori Lamont, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for the Winnipeg Health Region, says this is important because the majority of Manitobans have not taken the time to plan for their future health care. That means many people in life-and-death situations are leaving important health-care decisions in the hands of others.

The first step in the advance care planning process is to think about the care you would like to receive and discuss your wishes with family and loved ones.

"These are difficult conversations to have," acknowledges Lamont. "But they are also very important conversations to have, regardless of your age or current health status. You never know what's going to happen, so you need to be prepared. Each of us is in the best position to know who we want to and should have these conversations with. But we're also the ones who really don't want to talk about it. We avoid it."

Lamont says the Region is also preparing health-care providers to help their patients with these conversations.

"Over the next couple of months, we will be providing resources and education to health-care professionals on how to engage in advance care planning conversations with people they provide care for, their families or advocates," says Lamont. "As healthcare providers, we all strive to provide the best quality care. By knowing in advance what type of care people wish for today, this will help guide our health-care decisions for them in the future."

Wave: May / June 2011

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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