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April 16th is National Advance Care Planning Day
Interlake-Eastern RHA encourages residents to talk to friends and family about health care values in advance 
April 16 is Advanced Care Planning Day – a day to remind everyone to discuss your wishes and values with your family and support system so, in the event of a health care situation where you cannot speak for yourself, your family will be able to reflect your values, what is meaningful in your life and how you would like decisions to be made, back to health care providers.

“It is very common for us to assume people know what we’re thinking and what your preferences would be if they have to make health care decisions on your behalf,” says Sandra Milotte, palliative care volunteer coordinator and community liaison, “But the best way to ensure your family and people who are your supports system know your wishes is to actually have the conversation.”

Visit www.ierha.ca and click “Care in your community” and then “Additional services in communities” and “End of Life Care” for free, easy to use resources and workbooks that will help with your advanced care planning.

Milotte encourages people to ask the question ‘Do my loved ones know about my wishes?’
“Until you talk to them, how will they know? Fortunately, there’s an easy way to close this space: have a conversation,” Milotte says. “Remember, it may take a few attempts before the conversation really gets going. Don’t feel like you have to have the entire conversation at once. There are many ways to get the conversation started.”

Here are some tips to help start talking about advanced care preferences.
Be straight forward: “I have just filled out a workbook about my wishes for future health care and I want to share it with you.” 
“My health is good right now, but I want to talk to you about what I’d want if I was sick and needed you to make decisions for me.” 

Blame someone else: “My doctor wants me to think about my wishes for future care. Will you help me?”  

Find an example from the news: “That story about the family fighting about their mom’s care made me realize that we should talk about these things so the same thing doesn’t happen to our family.”

Talk to those around you. Talk to your health care providers. Most importantly, talk to your substitute decision maker(s), the people who would make health care decisions in case you cannot speak for yourself; they need to know about your values, what is meaningful in your life, and how you would like decisions to be made.

Interlake-Eastern RHA’s palliative care team is available to deliver community presentations to groups on advance care planning. To arrange for a presentation, please contact Sandra Milotte at 1-855-494-7369.

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