Making your wishes known: Advance Care Planning Day

Categories: Care.

April 16th is National Advance Care Planning Day in Canada, a day to reflect on one’s decisions made at the end of life. A day to begin a conversation with a loved one about their wishes for end of life care – or it might remind you to review your own plan.

In Africa, such a day does not explicitly exist, but the principle of helping patients describe what would is important to them if they were ill and unable to communicate remains important.

What kind of care would the patient want to receive?  Which medical procedures would they want or not want? What are their fears around such procedures and their prognosis?

The Initiative recommends 5 steps for making an advance care plan for patients to address some of these questions:

1. THINK about what’s important to you

2.  LEARN about different medical procedures and what they can or

can’t do

3. DECIDE on a substitute decision maker – someone who is willing and

able to speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself

4.  TALK about your wishes with your loved ones

5.  RECORD your wishes – write them down or make a recording.

A number of national palliative care associations in Africa have published tools that help patients, caregivers and the legal fraternity in Advance Care Planning. These include:

The Advance Care Planning in Canada Speak Up website ( also has a number of resources, including workbooks, information about medical procedures, videos, wallet cards and conversation starters.

If you think any of these resources would be especially beneficial for Advance Care Planning in an African context, please email us here.

You can also follow the hashtag #ACPDay2015 on Twitter to share your opinion around Advance Care Planning and its importance in your country.  

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