What is an Advanced Care Directive and Why You Should Have One
Planning for the future can be scary and stressful, but to ensure that you are ready for whatever the future holds it must be done. Planning early through an Advanced Care Directive will help your loved ones at a later time when they are under a lot of stress, are emotionally fragile and are unsure of the next steps.
What is an Advance Care Directive?
An Advance Care Directive is most often a document, written while you are well and able to make decisions, in which you state your wishes for medical and/or non-medical care in case you become unable to speak for yourself at some time in the future.
Why should you have an Advance Care Directive?
In a medical emergency or in any other circumstance that leaves you unable to communicate, for example if you have a stroke or if you are in a coma, your Advance Care Directive will assert your right to choose what you want or do not want in the way of medical treatment and care. It will help those responsible for your care to decide on your treatment. It will help your family to understand and support the decisions that you would have made yourself.
There is no legal requirement for you to have an Advance Care Directive. Only you can create it – no one else can do it for you. But if you do not have an Advance Care Directive, others may not know your wishes and you may be subjected to aggressive or life-prolonging medical interventions that you would not want. On the other hand, you may have a specific medical condition for which you do want all available treatment. Start the process now of creating your Advance Care Directive by thinking about your personal values and the everyday pleasures that make life worth living.
How do I create my Advance Care Directive?
Fortunately, there are several professional healthcare organizations such as associations and hospitals in Ontario which have provided their clients and the public with helpful resources such as Advance Care Planning Workbooks and Advance Care Planning Kits with all information you need.
Here are a few resources to get you started:
- Advance Care Planning Canada
- A Guide to Advance Care Planning by the Government of Ontario
- Dying with Dignity Advance Care Planning Kit
- Michael Garron Hospital’s Advance Care Planning Workbook
- Speak Up! Ontario’s Advance Care Planning Workbook
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