Attorneys offer free advice on planning for emergency health care

David Pope and Gale Lawrence will discuss health care planning at the Ladysmith Resources Centre Thursday, April 11

It took an almost-fatal car crash for a Cowichan Valley Hospice staff member and her husband to look into the question of planning for incapacity.

“We are both planning to be around for at least a few more years,” said the staffer. “But when another driver crashed his car into my husband’s on the Island Highway last year, we realized that sometimes things happen over which we have no control. They can happen at any time to anyone. Last fall, we had many decisions to make at a very stressful time, and thank goodness we were both able to participate in making those decisions. We have since talked about the kinds of health care we would like to have should we not be able to make decisions for ourselves, and we have also set up enduring powers of attorney for our financial and legal matters.”

Cowichan Valley Hospice volunteer and lawyer David Pope and Gale Lawrence, a retired U.S. attorney and volunteer with Ladysmith Resources Centre Association, will lead a lively and interesting information session about planning for incapacity this Thursday (April 11) at the Ladysmith Resources Centre.

“Increasingly, law and ethics emphasize the need for the health care system to recognize the patient’s right and need to be at the centre of health care decision,” says Pope. “The problem is: how do I make my wishes known if I can no longer communicate them?”

Adds Lawrence, “No matter what your age, it gives you a sense of security to decide in advance what types of treatment you do or do not want.”

In this free session, Pope and Lawrence will talk about how to develop health care directives and appoint a health care representative, under the new regulations established in October 2011. Most importantly, they hope to start some important conversations between people who care about each other, to get them talking about how important decisions will be made when they cannot make them for themselves.

The Tools for Planning Your Future Health Care session will take place Thursday, April 11 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. in the lower meeting room at the Ladysmith Resources Centre. Refreshments will be provided. To register, call Cowichan Valley Hospice at 1-888-701-4242.