Advance Care Planning – Your choice, their voice

April 9, 2015

On Thursday, April 9, Shared Care and the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice issued a news release discussing the importance of Advance Care Planning and the upcoming Advance Care Planning Fair happening in New Westminster on Saturday, April 11 from 10am - 2pm. For full details, download the release here (PDF).

End of life issues are a frequent topic of conversation in our media nowadays as they report on court rulings either supporting or opposing end of life challenges and decisions.  These discussions have promoted some open and honest conversations in the public arena – a positive step - making us think more about our own personal values, priorities and care choices in situations where we might not be able to speak for ourselves. Advance Care Planning (ACP) is exactly about having these kinds of conversations – conversations which will allow your loved ones, your health care team and family physician to be better equipped and confident to make medical choices on your behalf.  But what does that conversation sound like? What issues need to be discussed, and what should we know that we don’t know already?

 "On every shift, I encounter the struggles of families who have never had any Advance Care Planning conversations," says Dr. Joelle Bradley, a hospitalist at Royal Columbian and a leading advocate for ACP.  “When family members have never talked about values and priorities, making medical decisions can cause great stress, guilt and turmoil,” notes Bradley. 

 To raise awareness of this important issue, a Shared Care Fraser Northwest Division project (a partnership of Doctors of BC and Ministry of Health) is hosting its first Advance Care Planning Fair on April 11th at Century House, New Westminster from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The fair offers knowledgeable speakers sharing suggestions and strategies on how to talk to loved ones about their choices. Doctors will be available for table talks about what they can and can’t do, as well as provide information about medical technologies and procedures.

Elaine Kelly, a former nurse who recently lost her husband Don says, “We were happy to talk about our values — formed over 55 years of marriage. In the end letting those values be known allowed Don to have the peaceful, calm death he wanted, naturally.”

For more details about the fair visit Advance Care Planning Fair or call 604-669-7887.

For more information about ACP see and recently released Doctors of BC policy paper.