NEWS

Families need to plan for end-of-life issues

Winnipeg Health Region marks Advance Care Planning Day
with campaign to help patients, families & health-care providers
have "those difficult conversations"

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Advance Care Planning

For Health Professionals

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Helping your loved ones navigate the end of their life, helping them have a say about how they want to be treated when they can no longer communicate, and getting them to tell you what they do and do not want in terms of life-saving treatment is all part of Advance Care Planning.

It’s also part of a discussion the Winnipeg Health Region wants all families to have before someone in their life gets seriously ill or is in a horrific accident.

“These are difficult conversations to have,” said Lori Lamont, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer. “But they are also very important conversations to have regardless of your age or current health status. You never know what’s going to happen, so you need to be prepared.

“That’s why today has been designated National Advance Care Planning Day, to raise awareness about this very important topic, not just here in Winnipeg, but across the country.”

Lamont said the Region is doing its bit to help families raise and discuss the issue among themselves, with their health-care providers or their best friend. “Each of us is in the best position to know who we want and should have these conversations with. But we’re also the ones who really don’t want to talk about it. We avoid it.”

To help facilitate these discussions, the Winnipeg Health Region has designed a helpful workbook to help guide members of the public “have those difficult conversations,” she said. The workbook, along with other resources (including a Health Care Directive form) is posted on the Region’s website in order to make them readily available to the public.

Lamont said the Region is also preparing health-care providers to help their patients with these conversations.

“Over the next couple of months we will be promoting and educating health-care professionals on how to engage in Advanced Care Planning conversations with people they provide care for, their families or advocates,” said Lamont. “As health-care providers we all strive to provide the best quality care. By knowing in advance what type of care people wish for today, this will help guide our health-care decisions for them in the future.”

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