Advance Care Planning

acp-image.JPGWhat Is Advance Care Planning?  • Your Care, Your Choices • Coming Full Circle: Planni​​​ng for Your Care •  Personal Stories • For Health Professionals

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What Is Advance Care Pl​​anning?

Advance​ Care Planning helps you prepare for the future. It is about sharing how you wish to be cared for if you become ill or badly hurt. It’s about thinking about what matters – your values, goals, traditional practices and health care wishes. It's also about deciding who will speak for you if you can't speak for yourself.

Advance Care Planning is one way to be prepared for the unexpected.

Preparing a Basket

Advance Care Planning means being in control of how you would like your future health care to be. It is like a basket of information that you can reach into when needed. For more about how to prepare your basked, see the FNHA brochure Advance Care Planning: Preparing a Basket with What Matters to You

Five Steps in ​​Advance Care Planning

Th​​ink – ​Think about what matters to you. What gives your life meaning and joy? What is most important to you about your health care? Are traditional healing practices or ceremony important to you? Remember that health care wishes include physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.

Le​​​arn – Learn about any health conditions you have. Your health care team can help. As you get older, what will living with your health condition be like? What kind of decisions will you have to make? Talk to your health care team and, if you have one, a Traditional Healer, ​​about your health and ask about the treatments you may be offered in the future. You have the right to ask questions to health care providers and make an informed decision.​

Dec​i​​de – Decide who can speak for you, if you cannot speak for yourself. Think about who knows you best and is willing to speak for you. This person is called a Substitute Decision Maker (SDM). A substitute decision maker is someone who will tell your story if you cannot and who is able to make medical decisions for you based on what they know matters to you. (You may choose more than one person as a SDM.) Note that there are laws in BC that will affect who is able to make the decisions if you are not able.

Ta​l​​k – Let your family and friends know if you have a SDM and what your health care wishes are. 

Re​co​rd – Record your thoughts, goals and priorities in any form – written, audio recording, video recording. You may also wish to complete legal documents. Share copies with people who matter to you, your SDM and your health care team.

Finally, remember that you will need to review your Advance Care Plan when there are changes to your health and wellness.​

Your Care, Your Choices 

Your Care, Your Choices is a guide to learning about Advance Care Planning for yourself. 

The guide was adapted with consent from the Alaska Native Medical Center with input from health care providers and various First Nations people. It includes personal stories as well as information about substitute decision makers, advance directives, expressed wishes for medical care, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), life support and tube feeding. It also i​ncludes workbook-style pages for you to record your decisions as well as copies of provincial legal forms that might be used in BC.

To request a print copy, please contact us. 

Coming Full Circle: Planni​​​ng for Your Care

I follow a traditional lifestyle and that would be part of my expectations in my care – that ​it would be woven into Western interventions. That might mean plant medicines, teas and ceremonies.

– Elder 

Created by Indigenous peoples for Indigenous people, Coming Full Circle: Planni​​​ng for Your Care helps First Nations, Inuit and Métis in planning for and having discussions about their care should they become seriously ill or if they can no longer speak for themselves. The booklet: 

* includes questions to guide reflection on values, beliefs and wishes for future healthcare

* outlines how to choose substitute decision-makers

* suggests ways to talk with families and healthcare providers to make wishes known

The booklet is available for download at​. Select the First Nations, Inuit or Métis icon and scroll down to the Print materials section. 

COVID-19 Treatme​nt Options

Let’s Talk About Hospital Treatment Options During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Personal St​​ories

Fancy C. P​​​​​oitras​

My Journey into Advance Care Planning (personal story and update from Fancy C. Poitras, Senior Policy Analyst at FNHA)

Nikki Hunter

Advance Care Planning can be viewed as a living will – which is difficult for many people to talk about – but it is really about trying to uphold a person's dignity and wishes as they experience illness or journey to the Spirit World.​

– Nikki Hunter, FNHA Home Care Nurse and Supervisor (read Nicki's story: Líl̓wat Health & Healing Shifts Advance Care Planning for COVID-19)

For Health Pr​ofe​ssionals

Advance Care Planning: Talking to Your​ Co​​mmunity (Speak Up Canada video)

Preparing for a Serious Illness Conversation: A Guide for Health Care Providers (FNHA & BC​ Centre for Palliative Care Guide)

Serious Illness Conve​rsation Guide - Adapted Version​ (FNHA & BC​ Centre for Palliative Care Video​)​​

FNHA has developed several nursing resources for Advance Care Planning during COVID-19. See Nursing Practice in For Health Professionals in our Coronavirus section.

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