Record Your Health Choices
Bowen Island Undercurrent
Published: June 07, 2013 1:00 PM
Navigating the healthcare system can often be a confusing, daunting task. Knowledge and support are critical to deciding best-care options when we or our loved ones become vulnerable. The Caring Circle Resource Centre is a grass-roots organization aimed at providing education, resources and support, helping people to bridge the gap between illness and health and remain vital, active members of our community.
Two upcoming events will highlight the work of the organization. On June 14, a My Voice session is designed to help participants to determine and record their personal wishes concerning health care decisions. And an open house is planned for June 15.
“With the support of a generous donation from Dee Elliott, the Caring Circle has purchased 100 copies of the Ministry of Health’s My Voice – An Advance Care Planning Guide, which is a legal document that will assist people, if incapacitated, to express their wishes for future health care treatment,” said Caring Circle coordinator Colleen O’Neil. “Because the document is somewhat complicated, an educator from the North Shore who has been working with this document and community members for quite a while, will be available to explain the jargon and legal terms. This is a tremendous resource for community members who want to ensure that if they are unable to express their treatment wishes to health care providers, they can refer to My Voice documents that have been recorded in advance.”
O’Neil explained that a relative cannot trump any wishes that are properly expressed in this document.
“This is part of new incapacity or personal planning legislation that came into force in B.C in 2011. This advance care plan helps to alleviate some of the stress that family and friends could face if they are asked to make important health care decisions for a loved one,” she added.
O’Neil said that anyone who is capable of understanding and communicating with the doctor or other health care provider will be asked to make his or her own health care decisions. It is only when a serious accident or illness renders a patient incapable of doing that, the advance care plan will inform caregivers of his or her wishes.
“My Voice is a workbook of questions about what you need to decide on, as well as a representative agreement which can be prepared and which can include additional legal documents,” O’Neil said. “So, you are invited to Bowen Court on June 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Barbara Greenlaw will walk us through the 52-page-document and we can learn together. We will have the My Voice documents available for a nominal fee/donation.”
O’Neil added that she hopes some members of the group will be able to later pass along the knowledge to islanders who are unable to attend next week’s session.
“We are intending to have information sessions throughout the year to help people complete their personal advance care plans,” she said. “Remember, you don’t have to be a senior to see the relevance of this kind of future health care planning. Anyone can benefit from knowing that our beliefs and values are honoured in health care decisions.”
O’Neil also suggested that participants have a snack before coming as no lunch will be served.
The My Voice session is just one of the many initiatives of the Caring Circle (www.caringcircle.ca). Learn more about the organization’s projects at an open house on Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the office located between the Village Baker and the Village Video store.
Regular opening hours are Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.