April 16th marks National Advance Care Planning Day in Canada, an annual day of awareness that organizations, like Hospice Quinte, use to educate communities on the importance of Advance Care Planning and to encourage individuals to have conversations about their wishes for their future health care.

Being in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there could come no greater of a time for us all to give our wishes for our future health care some thought and to talk about it with those closest to us. It’s crucial for us all to acknowledge that our health can change without warning. You never know when someone might have to speak for you. In Ontario, there are specific laws about when and who can make health care decisions on your behalf, should you become mentally incapable of doing so.

This year’s Advance Care Planning Day is based on the theme that a Life Well Lived is a Life Well Planned. Hospice Quinte Executive Director, Jennifer May-Anderson says, “It’s crucial to recognize the growing need for education and advocacy of Advance Care Planning in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Having an Advance Care Plan will help ensure your wishes are respected should you be unable to express them yourself one day, and it takes the pressure of guesswork off your loved ones.”

Canadians have spoken, and although 80% of the population believes Advance Care Planning is important, less than 1 in 5 Canadians have an Advance Care Plan.

While it’s not always easy, it’s incredibly important to talk to those around you. If you need some help to begin the conversation, visit the “Speak Up Canada” initiative website at AdvanceCarePlanning.ca. Here you will find information, tools, and prompts to assist you with planning and starting these conversations.

On the evening of April 16th, between 6 and 8 pm, take the opportunity to speak with your family, friends and loved ones about your values, wishes and what is most important to you. Don’t leave your loved ones in the space between guessing and knowing, have a conversation. A life well lived is a life well planned.

To access a compiled list of COVID-19 specific resources, as well as information regarding Health Care Consent, Goals of Care Discussions, and Substitute Decision Makers, please visit SpeakUpOntario.ca.

Hospice Quinte assists terminally ill individuals and their caregivers by offering them support and companionship. As we continue to monitor the ongoing corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic, Hospice Quinte’s Bereavement Support Groups and in-person Volunteer Visiting Program will be temporarily suspended until such time social-distancing is no longer recommended. Support for current community visiting hospice clients and client intake will continue by telephone.

Until further notice, the Hospice Quinte office at the Bayview Mall will be closed to the public. Staff will be on-site at the office to answer phone and email inquiries. The Hospice Quinte website is also open 24/7 and is accessible from the comfort of home! The “Information & Resources” section contains loads of valuable resources and information about hospice palliative care, caregiving, grief and bereavement, and end of life issues.

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“The care of the dying demands all that we can do to enable patients to live until they die.”

–Dame Cicely Saunders