None of us knows what tomorrow will bring. A health crisis may affect you or a family member at any time.
Advance care planning allows you to have a say in the health care you will receive if you are too sick to speak for yourself. It is a way to reflect on your values, beliefs and wishes so that you can make your own health care decisions. By discussing and documenting your wishes with your loved ones, health care team and family physician, they will be better able to act on your behalf.
Where to Start
To help you hold these conversations, find resources, prepare your advance care plan and ensure the right people know your plans.
Information about advance care planning, personal planning tools and forms are available in the BC Advance Care Planning Guide:
To assist you to use the My Voice planning guide:
Effective September 1, 2011, there are new ways you can appoint someone to speak up on your behalf in the event that you cannot speak for yourself. The changes in the law now make it possible for you to provide guidance to your health care team in ways not possible before. Read more…
Make Your Plan
Writing an Advance Care Plan means your voice will guide health care decisions if you are not able to make them for yourself. The instructions and tools you need are provided in My Voice: Expressing My Wishes for Future Health Care Treatment.
An Advance Care Plan is a written summary of your conversation with your family and your doctor. This document will guide them if they must make decisions about your care without you.
Decide Who Will Speak for You
Once you have decided who your trusted representative will be, you can write a Representation Agreement that names them as your substitute decision maker and documents your wishes to guide that person.
Learn more about representation agreements from Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry.
Your Plan is a Legal Document
Your plan will be a legal document that is recognized by law and must be honoured by your doctor and your substitute decision maker.
You Can Change Your Plan
You can make changes to your plan any time while you are still capable of making decisions.
See Advance Care Planning Resources for more information.
Advance Care Planning Resources
Many resources are available to help you plan for your future health care.
Start with the provincial 'My Voice' Advance Care Planning Guide
We encourage you to download a copy here, as limited printed copies are available.
You may visit www.gov.bc.ca/advancecare to download the My Voice Advance Care Planning Guide directly or to locate additional resources. You may also call Health Link BC at 8-1-1 for further information.
If you wish to order hard copies of the My Voice: Expressing My Wishes for Future Health Care Treatment guide in single or in bulk, please visit Crown Publication’s website or call Crown Publications staff Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time: 250-387-6409 or 1-800-663-6105 (toll-free in B.C.). A charge for shipping and handling, plus applicable taxes will be applied to your order.
Advance Care Planning Health Tools can be found on HealthLink BC. Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health. At Health Link BC, you will find interactive health tools on the following topics:
- should I have artificial hydration and nutrition?
- should I receive CPR and life support?
- should I stop kidney dialysis?
- should I stop treatment that prolongs my life?