Thursday, May 19, 2016

Personal Planning in BC Stay in Charge of Your Life

This information is from a workshop that I do for COSCO Health and Wellness Institute in BC, that outlines the preparation of legal documents to authorize someone you trust to help you manage your health and financial affairs in times when you cannot speak for yourself, due to medical or other situations.

At some point in our lives, (sooner now, then later) we will all face this situation. The planning process, if done ahead of time, will be of great assistance to your family and friends when you are faced with illness, accident or gradual decline in physical and mental capability. Without proper legal arrangements, you may be vulnerable to adult guardianship. An adult guardian is appointed by government and may not represent your wishes.

BC Legislation Has Changed
The key point in Personal Planning for end-of-life and crisis management is that legislation in BC has changed. If you have not updated or created new documents to take care of this, you and your family are vulnerable. Having a Will only deals with the disposal of your possessions after your death. Personal Planning deals with what happens before you die, but are not able to look after yourself due to any of the aforementioned maladies. For those so inclined you can read the Representation Agreement Act Here.

Living Will
There is no legal document in BC called a Living Will. If you have a “Living Will” document, recognize that it has no legal standing in British Columbia and may not be recognized by any medical or other care facility. Representation Agreement

The primary document you need in place is a Representation Agreement. It is a document that authorizes your personal supporters to help you manage your affairs or make decisions on your behalf if you need assistance due to illness, injury, or disability. A Representation Agreement is the only way to authorize someone to assist you or to act on your behalf for health care and personal care matters. It can also cover routine financial affairs and legal matters. Read about Representation Agreements in detail here:

Representation Agreement Advance Directive
The Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act was amended to provide for advance directives for health care decision-making. An Advance Directive is a written instruction made by a capable adult that gives or refuses consent to health care in the event that the adult is not capable of giving the instruction at the time the health care is required. There are specific requirements to make a legally effective directive. An Advance Directive gives detailed explanations of your health care wishes and desires for when you are incapacitated. Read about this document here: Advance Directive. Health Care Consent.

Who can give consent in a medical emergency when you cannot? Learn more here: Health Care Consent. Practical advice was given as to who should have copies of all forms and where they should be kept.

Your Fridge and Smart Phone
Did you know that first responders are trained to look on your fridge to find pertinent information about you when you cannot respond? You should have copies of all your healthcare information and copies of all the above documents in an envelope on your fridge. They are also being trained to look at your smart phone for the same. Apple’s iPhone has an installed Health app that allows you to create a Medical ID. Learn about it here. You can put all your important medical information and emergency contacts in and first responders can get at it without unlocking your phone.

Further information, as well as forms, can be obtained in the booklet ‘My Voice’ that is available at Fraser Health offices and at the Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry. .

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