Advance Health Care Planning

Advance Health Care Planning

Advance health care planning begins by thinking about your beliefs, values and wishes regarding future health care treatment. It is about having conversations with your close family, friends and health care providers so that they know the health care treatment you would agree to, or refuse, if you became incapable of expressing your own decisions.

An Advance Directive is written evidence of your wishes or instructions to guide your substitute decision maker in the event that this person is asked to make a health care treatment decision on your behalf.

When you write down your wishes and instructions for future health care, you are making an Advance Health Care Plan. Your Advance Health Care Plan should include:

  • A Representation Agreement – a legally binding agreement where you name a Representative to make your health and personal care decisions if you become incapable.
  • An Advance Directive – your written instructions for future health care you may need at the time if you become incapable. A good guidebook is “My Voice” Workbook – Ministry of Health: available online or directly from Interior Health (Hospital).
  • An Enduring Power of Attorney – a legal document appointing someone, called an Attorney, to make decisions about your financial affairs, business and property.
Attorneys may not make health care treatment decisions. A Representation Agreement is the only way to appoint someone to act on your behalf for health care treatment decisions.

If you do not have a Representation Agreement, one person on the list below must be approached by the health care practitioner to make substitute health and care decisions on your behalf. You may not change the order of the list without a Representation Agreement.

  1. Your spouse (married or common-law)
  2. A son or daughter (19 or older, birth order doesn’t matter)
  3. A parent (either, may be adoptive)
  4. A brother or sister (birth order doesn’t matter)
  5. A grandparent
  6. A grandchild (birth order doesn’t matter)
  7. Anyone else related to you by birth or adoption
  8. A close friend
  9. A person immediately related to you by marriage (in-laws, step-parents, step-children, etc.)

To be able to act as a substitute decision maker, the person must be 19 or older, be capable, have no dispute with you, and have been in contact with you in the past year. Your representative or substitute decision maker is legally required to make decisions that respect your wishes. If you have had discussions about advance care planning and written down your beliefs, values and wishes, they will know and be able to speak to your wishes when asked to make health care treatment decisions for you.

Different personal circumstances may influence whether you choose to make a Representation Agreement, an Advance Directive, or simply to discuss your beliefs, values and wishes with close family and friends. A lawyer can help you to understand the wide range of issues that arise with estate planning matters. If you would like advice or for more information regarding such matters please contact Chahal Priddle LLP at 250-372-3233 to set up an appointment today.