Define your future health care decisions

Family members should be aware of end-of-life medical wishes.

A recent family dinner had gone well at a neighbhourhood restaurant in South Surrey, with more than eight family members gathered around the table for good food and great conversation. After dinner, Granddad declined a ride, opting instead to make the 10-minute walk home.

Shockingly, Granddad suffered a heart attack on the way, falling onto a library lawn. It was 10 minutes before he was found, another five to 10 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, and another five to 10 minutes for CPR to be attempted – without success.

Our experience prompted our family to discuss the question: Was resuscitation what Granddad wanted? We didn’t know. He had not discussed his wishes around medical interventions with us and we had nothing in writing to go by.

That one night changed our family’s perspective. It altered our ideas about what could happen to any of us at any time. I am now more aware of daily news headlines of sudden, unexpected deaths of people of all ages (not just grandparents). While adults may have stated their financial wishes through wills, the vast majority has not documented their conversations about their values around personal health care decisions.

Individuals can state instructions in an Advance Care Plan (ACP) and be assured that their medical wishes at end-of-life –whether expected or unexpected – will be respected. Making an ACP also includes deciding your preferences for life-extending measures. Learning about these issues, talking about them with your family (and possibly health-care professionals) as well as naming one or more substitute decision maker(s) are the important first steps.

Sometimes the person suffering an attack or accident isn’t with their family (or substitute decision maker), as was the case with my Granddad.

I’ve learned that each of us should make our advance care decisions known. It can be as straightforward as filling out a form – available in booklets such as My Voice (B.C. Ministry of Health) and keeping the forms on your fridge, where it is easy to locate for emergency personnel or others.


Rosemary Brown

BC Centre for Palliative Care’s Provincial

Advance Care Planning Initiative

Just Posted

‘Kim’s Convenience’ keeps Surrey actor busy when not working as church pastor in Guildford

Award-nominated James Yi will again play shop owner at Surrey Arts Centre next winter

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in South Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Hazmat team called to Surrey recycling centre

Witness at scene said several workers reported affects including coughing, headaches and chest tightness

South Surrey woman excited to ‘tell the world Canada is open for business’

Aashina Singh aims to promote Metro Vancouver companies in Singapore and Malaysia

VIDEO: Wet weather kicks off Lower Mainland toad migration

Thousands of small western toads were making the trek from pond to woods

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

Serious police incident unfolding at Sts’ailes near Agassiz

Small reserve near Agassiz surrounded by police vehicles, helicopter, ERT

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

RCMP release sketch of suspect in SFU assault, appeal to witnesses who helped woman

The RCMP want to talk to two women who helped the victim after she got to the parking lot

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Most Read