“I have an advance directive, not because I have a serious illness, but because I have a family.”
It’s a quote that resonates for Diana Wood, with the Terrace Hospice Society. Who said it originally is unknown, but what’s clear is their understanding of the value of this vital document.
“An Advance Care Plan details a person’s future healthcare decisions, in a legal document made before a time when you may be unable to communicate with your doctor,” explains Wood, who is leading the Hospice Society’s Advance Care Planning Course this February.
That means that if you have a stroke, for example, a serious illness, or even an accident that leaves you unable to communicate, your wishes will be clear to both your loved ones and your health care team.
“Your ACP does more than specify the details of your wishes; it provides clarity and peace of mind for your family at a difficult time,” Wood reflects. “It alleviates stress at a time of grief, and it takes away the guilt your family may feel at having to make a difficult decision.”
Is your Advance Care Plan (ACP) completed?
While Wood and the Hospice Society have presented many ACP workshops over the years, sessions that explored the importance of a plan and how to make it, few participants actually completed their plan.
The solution was to expand the workshop into an eight-hour course spread over four weeks that walks step-by-step through the entire process. At the end you’ll have a completed Advance Care Plan that will simply need to be witnessed by a Notary, Wood explains. “This will take them from inception to completion. By the end of the fourth session, they’ll have a fully formatted document.”
And for those concerned about sitting through four mornings exploring such a serious topic, know that it is worth it, plus, “we’ll still have our laughs and giggles,” Wood says with a smile.
Ready to learn more?
Join the Terrace Hospice Society on Saturday, Feb. 1, 8, 15 and 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Terrace Library boardroom. The course fee is just $20, including all materials, or $30 for couples.