Hospice society offers intro to advance care planning

Hospice Palliative Care Society, BC Centre for Palliative Care to offer free May 3 sessions

The 100 Mile House District Hospice Palliative Care Society is teaming up with the BC Centre for Palliative Care to offer Advance Care planning sessions on May 3.

The society has worked with the hospice and Age Friendly Society for years to offer advance care sessions, however, hospice director Gayle Dunsmuir said this collaborative session will be the first of its kind.

An advance care plan is a written summary of a person’s wishes or instructions, used to guide a substitute decision maker if that person is no longer able to speak for themselves due to illness or injury.

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Aside from the collaboration, Dunsmuir said the session will also be unique because it will be more of an introduction to advance care planning.

While past sessions have taken participants through the whole process, down to putting a plan on paper, this upcoming session will not involve creating an actual plan.

“This is just the introduction to get a little bit comfortable with thinking about those things that are important to you,” Dunsmuir said, adding that participants will be encouraged to think about and discuss their wishes and fears throughout the session.

“The [whole] process is quite lengthy — at least a couple hours,” Dunsmuir said. “We felt when we saw the statistics of the number of people in Canada who really do believe that an advance care plan is something important for them, there aren’t really all that many that have actually completed the plan.”

Along with the BC Centre for Palliative Care, the society decided to “offer something that could just get people started.”

Dunsmuir said starting the advance care plan process is important if adults want to have a say and have their wishes respected if they fall ill or sustain an injury that leaves them incapacitated.

“Should a time come when we can’t speak … because we value having our own way, we need to have someone in place to speak for us,” she said.

She also said having an advance care plan in place can be very helpful for family members and friends, a fact she said the hospice has experienced first-hand.

“Many times families have a lot of trouble because each member thought that something else should happen in the way of a loved one’s care and there was dissension around the time that a loved one dies,” she said.

“If there’s a lot of disagreement as a death is nearing, it makes the grief journey very difficult.”

The May 3 sessions will take place from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m., and from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the Cariboo Regional District Library.

The event is free, but pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Dunsmuir at 250-395-4290.

Dunsmuir said that if spots for the session fill up or if someone is interested and cannot make it on May 3, to still contact her and she will start a list for another future session.


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