What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance Care Planning “is a process of reflection and communication. It is a time for you to reflect on your values and wishes, and to let people know what kind of health and personal care you would want in the future if you were unable to speak for yourself. It means having discussions with family and friends, especially your Substitute Decision Maker – the person who will speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself. It may also include writing down your wishes, and talking with healthcare providers and financial or legal professionals” to develop your advance care directive. (source: www.advancecareplanning.ca)

What Is An Advance Health Care Directive (Directive)?
A Directive is a written statement of your health care wishes. It is used in the event of an illness or injury that leaves you unable to communicate your health care wishes to others. Your Directive will not be used during any times when you can communicate your health care wishes to others.

Who Can Make A Directive?
You can make a Directive if you are 16 years of age or over. If you are under 16, special rules will apply.

Who Should Make A Directive?
Anyone who wishes to provide clear instructions or set out general principles about their health care treatment and/or who wishes to designate a Substitute Decision Maker should make a Directive.

 Why Should I Make A Directive?

Directives allow you to accomplish two main goals:

1) Provide instructions and/or general principles about your health care that you want to be followed. These instructions and principles must be respected by your health care professionals (such as a doctor or nurse) and family members.

2.) Appoint a Substitute Decision Maker who will act on your behalf in the event that you are not able to make your own health care decisions.

Directives provide clarity about your health care wishes and assist in preventing conflicts over deciding what treatments you should receive.

Advance Health Care directives are available at your local hospital/clinic or community health department or you can visit the following website.

How to make an Advance Health Care Directive

Here are links to websites that can assist you in developing your advance care plan:

Seniors and the Law in NL

Advance Health Care Director’s Act

National Advance Care Planning Website

Cancer and Advance Care Planning


For more information regarding your Advance Care Planning talk with your healthcare provider.