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Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association - National Advance Care Planning Day

 

Hon. Michael L. MacDonald: Honourable senators, I rise today to acknowledge the important issue of advanced care planning. I am a member of the Champion's Council of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, the national voice for hospice palliative care in Canada. Established in 1991, the CHPCA provides direction in advancing and advocating for quality end-of-life hospice palliative care. The work of the association's volunteer board of directors, which is composed of hospice palliative care workers and volunteers from Canadian provinces and territories, as well as members at large, focuses on public policy education and awareness.

As a member of the Champion's Council, I support the CHPCA's goal to ensure that those Canadians who have a progressive, life-limiting illness and their families have access to high-quality, compassionate and cost-effective care from a variety of professionals.

Honourable senators may be wondering: What does "advance care planning" really mean, or what exactly does it entail? It is a process of reflection and communication — a time for you to reflect on your values and wishes and to let others know of your future health and personal care preferences in the event that you become incapable of consenting to or refusing treatment or other care. Advance care planning means having discussions with family and friends, especially your substitute decision maker — the person who will speak for you if you cannot. It could also include writing down your wishes and may even involve talking with health care providers and financial and legal professionals.

I am committed to helping the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association succeed in its pursuit of excellence and care for persons approaching end of life, so that the burden of suffering, loneliness and grief is lessened. To this end, I wholeheartedly support the CHPCA's mission to declare April 16 as Canada's national advance care planning day — a date that would be shared with the U.S. National Healthcare Decisions Day.

In support of this undertaking, I would like to give the following proclamation:

WHEREAS more than 235,000 Canadians die every year and the rate of death is projected to increase 33 per cent by the year 2020, and

WHEREAS an increasing demand for services at the end of life is placing additional pressure on health care cost budgets, and

WHEREAS Advance Care Planning is a process of thinking about and communicating wishes for end of life care, and involves communicating end of life care wishes with family, friends, and health professionals, as well as naming a Substitute Decision Maker, and

WHEREAS Canadians with Advance Care Plans and their caregivers report greater satisfaction with end of life care and are more likely to take advantage of hospice palliative care resources or die at home, and

WHEREAS I, Senator MacDonald, wish to raise awareness of the options available to citizens and encourage conversations about planning for end of life, and

NOW KNOW YE THAT I do by these presents support the proclamation and declaration that April 16, 2012, shall be known as "Advance Care Planning Day" in Canada.

I hope that honourable senators will join me in supporting the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association in this pursuit.