The space between guessing and knowing can be closed with a conversation
OTTAWA, April 15, 2019 /CNW/ - When it comes to planning for your future health care, are you, your family and friends prepared? If you were sick and couldn't speak for yourself, would they know your wishes?
All too often we assume people know what we're thinking. The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once wrote, "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." You might be surprised by the space between what you want for your future care and what your loved ones think you want.
Fortunately, there's an easy way to close this space: have a conversation.
Talk to those around you. Talk to your health care providers. Most importantly, talk to your substitute decision maker(s), the people who would make health care decisions in case you cannot speak for yourself; they need to know about your values, what is meaningful in your life, and how you would like decisions to be made. If you haven't chosen a substitute decision maker, you can find out how by contacting Speak Up initiative. Now is the time!
April 16th is National Advance Care Planning Day, a day to promote conversations about your wishes and values for your future health care. The "Speak Up" initiative has a website (www.advancecareplanning.ca) full of information, tools, and prompts to help with starting these conversations. There are also links to resources for specific provinces and territories because the process of expressing values and wishes differs across the country. Dr. Chad Hammond, Program Manager of the initiative says, "It's commonplace to hear stories of people who were sure their loved ones knew what they wanted, but had never sat down to check with them and talk it out. When they finally did, they were quite shocked at what their loved ones had assumed. That first conversation can be a bit of a revelation for some, but loved ones are always grateful to have the opportunity to clarify things."
So the question is: Do your loved ones know about your wishes? Until you talk to them, how will they know? There are many ways to get the conversation started! Remember, it may take a few attempts to get things started. Don't feel like you have to have the entire conversation at once. You can test out their knowledge with a short, playful card-based game called, "How Well Do You Know Me?", created by the Speak Up initiative. Sit with your loved ones or your substitute decision maker and ask any of the 10 questions in this not-so-trivial pursuit of clarifying your wishes and values for your future care. Make up your own hints, because it's about encouraging everyone to learn and to ask questions.
Advance care planning is for everyone! In this short video, we see a conversation between Walter Gretzky, his daughter Kim, and grandson Nathan. Walter talks about his experience with Advance Care Planning and how it helped his family members know about his wishes and values. His family calls on us all to give it a shot and start conversations about our wishes with our loved ones. The video was created in partnership between the Gretzky family, Speak Up, the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, and JMorris Media.
Don't leave your loved ones in the space between guessing and knowing: have a conversation. Make it a game to see who was paying attention. You can share inspiring conversations or card game results online using the hashtags #ACPDay2019 and #TheyKnowMeWell.
The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) is a member of the National Advance Care Planning Task Group, comprised of representatives from a number of organizations and professions across Canada.
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SOURCE Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association
For further information: For more information about advance care planning, please contact: Chad Hammond at 1-800-668-2785 ext. 228 or by email at: Chammond@chpca.net.