Doulas in the News – Preparing for End of Life Care by Elizebeth Kischook

Doulas in the News: Preparing for End of Life Care by Elizebeth Kischook

As originally published in the In Seine Newspaper on page 2 (Manitoba)

Death is not typically something we are dying to do. This includes the daunting tasks of preparing for this event. Components such as estate planning, and pre-need funeral arrangements are commonplace in our society, but with the innovations of medical technology comes the responsibility to ensure that wishes for our medical care are documented. Advance Care Planning focuses on this preparation. In Manitoba the document is a Health Care Directive and you must be 16 years of age. It is a document best written when one is healthy and able to make decisions to guide health care teams on personal requests for medical or non-medical care when you are specifically unable to speak for yourself. You may name up to two proxies or designates to be consulted with regarding your decisions. It is advised to engage in detailed conversations with your family and proxies regarding specific wishes and your guiding beliefs and values that make your life worth living. It is imperative to be as specific as possible as to which treatments and procedures are acceptable and which are not. This will ultimately direct caregivers in what may be end of life care. While it is impossible to include every medical scenario, your directive can clearly speak to your wishes when you cannot speak for yourself. Ensure to involve your doctor or nurse practitioner and although it is not necessary to consult a lawyer, you may wish to do this. It is critical to make sure that your plan is accessible. Provide copies to your proxies, health care team, leave a copy where it would be available to first responders and take copies with you when travelling. Lastly, review this document every three years or anytime circumstances change that may affect prior decisions. A copy of the Manitoba Health Care Directive form can be downloaded at Health Care Directive (Living Will) Written by Elizebeth Kischook, End of Life Doula