Updated national framework for advance care planning in Canada

The Advance Care Planning (ACP) in Canada initiative, led by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) has released an updated National Framework for ACP that now includes an updated plan for implementing ACP in Canada.

The 2019 Pan-Canadian Framework builds on the first version of the National ACP Framework, created in 2012, and its influence on new developments and accomplishments. The new framework is restructured to focus more on broadening partnerships and promoting further collaboration among different jurisdictions (local, provincial/territorial, national) and systems (health, law, social services, life planning). Its development was funded by Health Canada to help people living in Canada prepare for their future health care needs.

The updated framework reframes the four main action pillars as interconnected activities that have the potential to normalize, support, and promote ACP in Canada. These activities, in turn, can be integrated with other life planning activities, such as financial planning and estate planning, to create a kind of safety net for people throughout their lives.

The 2019 National Framework and other resources and tools for patients, families, and health care providers are available in the Advance Care Planning resource library at www.advancecareplanning.ca/acp-framework.

Resources to support the legal processes of advance care planning in Canada

The Advance Care Planning (ACP) in Canada initiative has released two Living Well, Planning Well resources to support the legal processes of ACP in Canada. Every province and territory has laws to help protect the right to do ACP and to choose a substitute decision maker to speak on a person’s behalf if they cannot speak for themselves. The two resources explain the legal requirements and lawyers’ involvement in their clients’ ACP.

Lawyer’s toolkit

The Living Well, Planning Well legal toolkit is designed to help lawyers and their clients go through the process of ACP. It highlights the importance of ACP and its role in life planning in general (e.g., estates and wills, life insurance, investment planning), and it covers different scenarios, prompts, and precedent clauses that lawyers can use to start ACP conversations with their clients. The legal toolkit, funded by Health Canada and created with input from two Canadian law firms, is available at www.advancecareplanning.ca/resource/living-well-planning-well-lawyers-resource.

Public toolkit

A complementary Living Well, Planning Well resource for the public was created with support from a national advisory committee of legal professionals, health care providers, and patient and caregiver representatives. This resource provides plain language summaries of the processes of health care consent, capacity, ACP, and substitute decision making in Canada. It begins with an overview of the national legal norms for ACP, followed by short infographic summaries of the legal requirements for each province and territory (except for Nunavut, which does not have ACP legislation). It is relevant for anyone who is unfamiliar with the laws where they live, or who has moved to a new province/territory, or is concerned about having their ACP rights respected. Funding for this resource was provided by the Canadian Bar Association’s Law for the Future Fund grant program. It is available at www.advancecareplanning.ca/resource/living-well-planning-well-resource.

. Updated national framework for advance care planning in Canada. BCMJ, Vol. 62, No. 1, January, February, 2020, Page(s) 32 - News.

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