Project gives plans a voice

The National Advance Care Planning in Canada initiative is challenging Canadians to tell their stories on April 16

Everyone has a reason for talking – or not talking – about the care they’d want if they couldn’t speak for themselves. The National Advance Care Planning in Canada initiative is challenging Canadians to tell their stories on April 16 – National Advance Care Planning Day.

“Recent surveys have told us that about six in 10 Canadians believe it’s important to talk to someone about their wishes for care, but only 45 per cent have done so,” said Louise Hanvey, project director for Advance Care Planning in Canada. “We want to know why.”

The project’s Speak Up website – www.advancecareplanning.ca – features a Personal Stories section for individuals to share their thoughts about why they have – or haven’t – made an advance care plan.

The process of advance care planning includes communicating your wishes for care (in writing or in person) and naming a Substitute Decision Maker, someone who will speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself.

Stories on the Speak Up website include thoughts and opinions from Canadians both young and old. Belinda Hannan, for example, talks about how losing a friend at the age of 20 made her realize that she needed to face her fears around death and recognize it as a natural part of life. Chandra Vig recalls the importance of having many conversations in advocating for her husband’s stepmother, calling them a ‘gift’ that gave the family the ability to provide the care she wanted.

A recent Harris/Decima poll indicates that 45 per cent of Canadians don’t want to talk about end-of-life care because they are ‘afraid of death,’ 39 per cent report being ‘creeped out’ by these types of conversations.

The Speak Up website includes a number of tools to help make these conversations easier, including videos, wallet cards, workbooks and conversation starters.

“April 16 is National Advance Care Planning day – a great opportunity to reflect on your wishes for care and to share those wishes with those around you,” said. Hanvey.

“Speak up and make your voice heard.”

To read personal stories about advance care planning, or to share your own, visit: http://www.advancecareplanning.ca/personal-stories.aspx