The great John Lennon quote “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” truly encapsulates the focus of today’s blog – National Advance Care Planning Day on April 16th. This annual Canadian campaign represents a day to encourage conversations about our wishes and values for future health. This is a big concept to unpack.
As a leading RN staffing agency, Advanced Home Care Solutions has seen firsthand how we tend to think that our time – and opportunities – to make plans are unlimited and that this process is endlessly accessible – until it isn’t. That’s why it’s so critically important to have a plan in place for your health and personal care, should you ever get sick or injured and can’t speak for yourself. As April 16th will showcase, an advance care plan is the recording or documenting of that information – whether it be a guide, a poem, a recording, or even a legal document. What matters most is that your loved ones and other relevant parties are aware of your wishes. At the end of the day, none of us are mind readers.
Human nature dictates that we often assume that people know what we’re thinking, as evidenced by George Bernard Shaw’s writing “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Think about it. What you want for your future care, and what your loved ones THINK you want, can be radically different. So talk to your family, friends, health care providers, and substitute decision-maker(s) – and if you don’t have one – choose one! It is extremely unfair to these people if they must play guessing games should your ability to communicate be taken from you. Have the talk!
For example, this dialogue might be kickstarted by playing the game “How Well Do You Know Me?” This set of cards can help to create conversations around your basic beliefs and values by asking questions like “What is my favourite routine?” or “What life circumstances would I find the most unbearable?” Admittedly, this can raise some uncomfortable feelings, but won’t you move forward feeling more secure about how some of life’s curveballs will be handled?
The healthcare landscape can be a challenging space – one that is difficult to navigate and can be fraught with red tape, overwhelming amounts of information and difficult decisions. Celebrating and promoting National Advance Care Planning Day allows us to exert control over one of those areas, even though none of us have a crystal ball. In the same way that people use insurance to mitigate the risks of potential future issues, embracing advance care planning can offer true peace of mind. Check out the resources available at www.advancecareplanning.ca including workbooks, videos, wallet cards and more.
AHCS’s background in the healthcare field as an RN staffing agency, travel nursing agency and provider of community care repeatedly reinforces – in real-world terms – the need for advance care planning. We will be marking April 16th as a special day on our calendars and hope you will too!