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Introduction

Conversations about advance care planning are taking place in homes and communities throughout our region. We invite you to join us in helping individuals of all ages to better understand how advance care planning can improve care. Having these conversations can help to address some of the issues that may arise if you are ever unable to consent to or refuse treatment or other care.

Since new personal planning legislation came into effect in British Columbia in 2011, there are a number of new resources that are available to assist community members aged 19 and over to start the conversation about advance care planning. This web site provides a number of tools that individuals and their families can use to help guide them in having the conversation and developing a personal advance care plan that is appropriate for you.

“New incapacity (or personal) planning legislation came into force in B.C. on September 1, 2011 providing adults with more options for expressing their wishes about future health care decisions. The legislation allows capable adults to put plans into place that outline the health care treatments they consent to or refuse based on their beliefs, values and wishes. If no decision/plan is in place, B.C.’s health care consent legislation gives regulated health care providers specific direction regarding who they must choose to make decisions on a person’s behalf.”

You may never need your advance care plan but, if you do, you’ll be glad that it is there and that you have had these conversations. Through your advance care plan you can make sure that your voice is heard when you can not speak for yourself. An advance care plan is a gift to you and your loved ones helping to guide them and your health care providers when you need it most. These plans are meant to be "living documents" enabling individuals to regularly review and make changes whenever you feel it is necessary. 

The province of British Columbia and the BC Ministry of Health, in partnership with Fraser Health and a number of regional health authorities and health care providers, developed and published a resource for British Columbians to help with advance care planning.

The advance care planning guide, My VOICE - Expressing My Wishes for Future Health Care Treatment, was published on February 12, 2012. The Guide is invaluable in helping British Columbians begin conversations with family members, friends and health care providers about advance care planning preferences. Any ‘Living Will’ or advance care planning document prepared prior to September 2011 when the legislation changed, is not considered legally binding consent or a refusal of treatment. Any documents prepared prior to the date of legislation change are now considered an expression of an individual’s wishes and may be used to guide one’s health care team and temporary substitute decision maker as they made decisions about an individual's health care. These documents do not replace an advance care plan.

Please note -The forms provided in the MY VOICE guide reflect the law at the date of publication. Laws can change over time.  This guide does not replace medical or legal advice.
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