It is great to have conversations about your wishes but only by making a Representation Agreement in BC can you have certainty. A Representation Agreement is about giving the person or people of your choosing the necessary legal authority to carry out your wishes, if you cannot speak for yourself.
You do not have to include wishes in your Agreement and Nidus recommends you do not. This gives you the freedom to have ongoing discussions with your representative or update written wishes without re-doing your legal document.
This is a common misconception. The term living will was coined a number of years ago in the United States to raise awareness about a patient’s right to refuse medical treatments that can prolong life but have a negative effect on quality of life.
A living will is NOT a legal document—there is NO Living Will Act in BC.
The good news is that BC has strong legislation about health care consent, thanks to the initiative of citizens and community groups, including the Alzheimer Society of BC. For example, patients have the right to refuse health care, even if it means their death. In addition, you can authorize someone to do this on your behalf if you are incapable, using a Representation Agreement.
Even though a living will is not a legal document, people can use it to write down their wishes, preferences and values about care they do or do not want and give it to their representative in case they become incapable. A representative named in a Representation Agreement, must make decisions according to your wishes and values—that you expressed verbally or wrote down in a living will or advance care plan.
The health system promotes advance care planning to encourage people to plan for health care. Nidus prefers the term personal planning because it is important to include all life areas—financial, legal, personal care as well as health care—and to recognize that the financial and social service systems have a role along with the care system.
Registry Fact Sheet: Personal Planning Documents
Nidus partnered with BC Courthouse Libraries to raise awareness about BC’s essential legal planning documents and the Nidus Registry. The kick off event was held on September 15th at the Vancouver Public Library CentralBranch with a panel of experts in the field. Questions that were submitted will be answered in a series of posts by Nidus and various panel members. To see photos from the event click Gallery; and click Registry Sing-a-long for the fun of it!