Advanced Care Planning

As the Clinical Coordinator at Chapman House part of my role includes the assessment and intake of clients into hospice care. I have the privilege of being the first contact with people enquiring about a loved one coming to hospice. My conversations with clients and their families may be urgent or hopefully preplanned and more comfortable. The level of anxiety amongst the client and family can vary depending on the situation. However, as a rule, I have noticed that the family with some form of end of life planning seems to have less anxiety and stress. Experience and education have led me to be very straightforward in my conversations with families. We do not have the luxury of putting crucial conversations on hold.

There really is no comfortable time to talk about death or our wishes for end of life care. What if I were to ask you “Who would speak for you if you couldn’t speak for yourself?” and “Does this person know your wishes for end of life care?” Could you answer yes? Do these two questions get your attention?

Whether one is young, old, healthy, or ill, one is not exempt from the possibility of dying tomorrow. Advanced care planning is a process of reflection and communication. It is a time for one to reflect on ones values and wishes, and to let people know what kind of health and personal care you would want in the future if you were unable to speak for yourself. Best of all, it is within your control.

A Substitute Decision Maker (or SDM) is an individual chosen to make medical decisions on behalf of another person if they are unable to do so for themselves. It is an important piece of advanced care planning. You may also consider having a Power Of Attorney for Personal Care (POA). A POA is chosen by you. Your POA does not have to be a family member and there is no cost to assign a POA.

At Chapman House we will help families get their affairs in order. We will help with setting up a POA, wills and assist with funeral planning. However, in our experience, these steps are much easier, and stress is less when these plans are made ahead of time.

Be willing, open, and honest when a loved one tries to address their wishes. There is no easy time to do this and it takes a lot of courage to have these discussions. Based on my experience NOW is the time to have these conversations. I have worked in hospice care for more than 10 years and I have never met a family that was disappointed that their loved one had an end of life plan in place.

– Ann Elford, Clinical Care Coordinator

Advanced Care Planning Workbook

We would like to encourage and assist you with starting a conversation with your loved ones about Advanced Care Planning.

To request your free copy of the Ontario Advanced Care Planning Workbook complete the following for or call 519-370-7239.

For more information and resources on Advanced Care Planning within Ontario, please refer to the Advanced Care Planning Ontario website.