April 16 is Advance Care Planning Day
By: Yvonne Griggs, Owner, Alert/Best Nursing & Home Care, Inc.
Advance care planning is the process by which we reflect on our values and beliefs and communicate our wishes in the event that we are unable to communicate health and personal care preferences and wishes. It means discussing those wishes with family, friends, financial planners, lawyers and substitute decision makers, who will speak for you, if you cannot.
Recent surveys indicate that 80% of Canadians believe that the health care system will not be able to manage the tremendous increase in demands of an aging population. Seniors in the 80+ age group are the second fastest growing age group. Seventy percent of Canadians have not prepared an advanced care plan and 47% have not designated a substitute decision maker to make health care decisions if they are unable to do so. Forty-four have not discussed end-of-life care with a family member.
Research indicates that clients who have end-of-life discussions with their doctors and family members will be more satisfied with their care, require fewer interventions, place less strain on care givers and are more likely to use hospice services or die at home.
- A 2008 study found that the absence of advance care planning was associated with poor client and family satisfaction with end-of–life care and bereavement.
- A 2010 study indicated that advance care planning and support would have a positive impact on end-of-life care in Canada.
For more information go to advancecareplanning.ca.
1 Ipsos Reid. 10th Annual Report Card on National Health Care. www.cma.ca, last accessed Aug. 28, 2010 2 Wright, AA, et al. Associations between end-of-life discussion, health care expenditures, JAMA, 2008, 300 (14) 1665-1673