A life dedicated to service...

Week 20: Who will speak for you?

Today’s post is about something we should all do without delay but may put off till mañana. It’s about appointing someone who’ll make medical care decisions on our behalf should we be incapacitated.

You may feel fine today and assume that friends and family will step in. But how familiar are they with your most intimate wishes regarding such issues as emergency interventions, resuscitation, institutional care, and end-of-life decisions?

Residents of British Columbia* can download instructions and forms for a Representation Agreement here. Completing it calls for careful reflection and intimate conversations. Contracting a suitable representative the right person requires time and courage.

If your Agreement is already in place, consider a regular review. Inevitably regulations will change — as well as your state of health, expectations for care, and available treatment options. Your currents representatives may wish to be relased from their responsibility.

It’ll be easy to put this off but please don’t. When I experienced severe chest pain on December 12th and drove myself to the hospial (while having a heart attack), I didn’t realized how close I’d come to dying. On that occasion my representatives weren’t needed — because I remained of sound mind throughout — but one stayed in touch throughout my stay.

Think of this as an act of loving kindness: for your own peace of mind and to support the people who will speak for you when you’re unable.


* If you reside outside BC make sure to follow procedures in your jurisdiction.

About the Author
Peter lives in Victoria, BC, where he volunteers in health-care and teaches mindfulness meditation.
  1. Betsy Reply

    I was bemused by your last post re leaving no trace, and agree with other folk who talked about your presence. This post being a case in point! Thanks for this link. I, for one, am going to use it.

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