Planning for future health care can be an awkward conversation at any stage, but experts in the field say, regardless, it’s not a conversation that should wait.
The trick to it, said Cari Hoffmann, Fraser Health’s lead for advance care planning, is knowing what questions to ask.
To help both clinicians and members of the public navigate the path, Fraser Health has organized a drop-in information day at Peace Arch Hospital.
Set for 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday (April 17), it focuses on an area that has “so many different elements,” Hoffmann said.
“It is about what gives your life meaning and it is about your life goals,” she told Peace Arch News Friday, of advance care planning.
“A lot of the challenges that we have in making health care decisions… is health care providers talk to us in survival statistics. The question is, survive to what? Just because I’m alive, doesn’t mean that I’m having a life that I thought that I wanted.”
Hoffmann said while the information day has been in the works for some time, last week’s widespread attention to organ donation, spurred by an effort to honour Humboldt Broncos player Logan Boulet’s commitment to organ donation, drove home the importance to “continue the conversation.”
While organ donation is one aspect, advance care planning is not about planning for the end of life, Hoffmann said. It’s about making choices around health care – for example, preferred treatment options in the event of illness – before they’re needed, and ensuring family members and friends know what those choices are.
Hoffman said she has “absolutely” had the conversation with her own adult children and close friends.
“I’ve equipped my friends and family to ask the right questions at the time,” she said.
All six members of Fraser Health’s advance care planning team are expected at Wednesday’s event, which is to include booths, a trivia game and a ‘joy board.’
Hoffmann said signage at the hospital – located at 15521 Russell Ave. – will direct those who drop in to head to a pair of meeting rooms in the basement.