Advance Care Planning
An introduction to planning your future healthcare and treatment
Your wishes matter
Having a say in personal healthcare is vital to maintaining a strong sense of independence. However, there may come a time when, due to a medical condition or accident, you are not able to express your care and treatment wishes.
Advance Care Planning is your chance to make choices about your future healthcare and treatment.
What is Advance Care Planning?
By taking an interest in your health and considering probable future outcomes, you have already begun the process of Advance Care Planning. It’s all about taking control of your future preferences, including:
- What treatments would you agree to or refuse? Under what circumstances?
- Would you accept life-supporting interventions? Under what conditions?
Discussion with family, friends and healthcare providers and documenting your wishes are also encouraged. Some clients may also want to speak with legal professionals during the process.
Why is it important to have Advance Care Planning?
Advance Care Planning can make a difficult time easier by:
- Giving you peace of mind that someone you know and trust is making informed decisions about your care and treatment.
- Helping those close to you make potentially difficult decisions on your behalf.
- Promoting open communication between you, your decision makers and your healthcare team.
Baycrest experts can help
At Baycrest, you have access to experts in the care of older adults and their changing needs. Talk to your healthcare team at any time to discuss the care and treatments most suited to your wishes, values and beliefs.
How to get started
At Baycrest, Advance Care Planning (ACP) is an important part of your overall care plan. ACP discussions can be raised at any time as your care wishes evolve or change. Below are tips to help you prepare for your first ACP discussion with your Baycrest healthcare team.
Step 1: Think
- About your beliefs, values and concerns. What brings quality to your life? What do you value, or what is important in your life that gives it meaning.
Step 2: Learn
- About your existing medical conditions, talk to your doctor and other healthcare providers. Ask about your prognosis – what you might expect to experience in the future as a result of these conditions. Learn about possible treatments for existing and future health conditions and about the type of care decisions you may be asked to make in the future. Learning about your medical condition and what to expect can help you to decide what is important to you.
Step 3: Decide
- On your Substitute Decision Maker (SDM) – the person or persons who will make your healthcare decisions for you if are mentally incapable of making your own decisions. You may have more than one SDM.
Step 4: Talk About Your Wishes
- Your substitute decision maker will need to understand your wishes and why you have chosen one course of action rather than another. You may communicate these wishes verbally, in writing, by video, braille and/or any other manner you like.
Step 5: Record
- Your future care wishes – If you choose to record your future care wishes, be sure to complete the form as required, called an Advance Directive, and inform your substitute decision maker(s), those closest to you and the health care team.
For detailed information and guidance on how to start the process of Advance Care Planning, see the following resources provided by the Ontario Government:
- A Guide to Advance Care Planning
- Ranking and duties of substitute decision makers in the Health Care Consent Act
Review The Goals of Care – Plan for Life Sustaining Treatment Form which will be used as a guide to help you and your healthcare team when you meet to have a discussion about your Goals of Care which may inform how you make future treatment decisions.