April 16 is Advance Care Planning Day – Only 30% of B.C. Adults Have Legal Instructions for Healthcare Decision-making if Unable to Speak for Themselves
Vancouver, BC—This Wednesday April 16 is Advance Care Planning Day across Canada, and the Society of Notaries Public is encouraging British Columbians, especially baby boomers, to take charge of their own healthcare by planning for a time when they can’t express their own healthcare wishes.
Only 30% of British Columbians have a Representation Agreement in place designating a healthcare decision-maker, and 44% have appointed a Power of Attorney designating someone to act on their behalf in legal or business matters, according to a province-wide poll conducted in March 2014 by Mustel Group for BC Notaries.
The Mustel Group conducted an omnibus telephone poll in March 2014 among 502 adults in BC. It found that only 13% of people in the 18-to-34 age range, 26% between 35 and 54, and 45% of individuals 55+ have a Representation Agreement.
For Powers of Attorney, 26% of people in the 18-to-34 age range, 41.5% between 35 and 54, and 60% of individuals 55+ have appointed a designate or designates.
“Documenting a healthcare decision-maker or healthcare wishes in advance helps medical workers react more quickly and efficiently in an emergency or when a critical decision needs to be made immediately,” says Akash Sablok, President of the Society of Notaries Public of B.C. and an East Vancouver Notary. “It ensures your own wishes will be followed and helps minimize stress and conflict among friends and family.”
Those who don’t have a close friend or family member to represent them—or prefer another approach—can make their own wishes known through an Advanced Directive. As professional legal advisors, BC Notaries have extensive specialized training in preparing all advance care planning documents.
“No one wants to end up in a situation where critical life decisions are made by a stranger, but all too often a personal guardian must be appointed by the Court,” says Kristy Martin, a Victoria Notary. “The best way to avoid this is to have your say in advance through advance planning documents.”
While ensuring one’s preferences are known and respected should be the primary motivator for advance care planning, it has social benefits as well. Healthcare budgets are escalating and healthcare providers are often overworked and under-staffed. With baby boomers approaching a stage in life when they are more likely to need care, the squeeze on resources will inevitably increase.
“Advance care planning is a cost-effective measure that we can take to ease our own hearts and minds and at the same time relieve growing pressure on our healthcare system,” says David Watts, a Notary in downtown Vancouver. “Advance care plans say what we want in terms of healthcare decisions and who we want to make those decisions; eliminating the need for unnecessary and often unwanted and costly steps.”
To find a Notary near you, visit www.notaries.bc.ca.
The Society of Notaries Public of BC represents more than 320 highly trained Notary professionals. Most have locally owned and operated offices and all provide personal assistance to clients around the province. Individuals, families, and businesses seek the services of BC Notaries for a wide range of non-contentious legal matters, including residential and commercial real estate transfers, mortgage refinancing, Wills and advanced healthcare planning, powers of attorney, and other important documents.
The Notary’s Tradition of Trust spans 2000 years. Notaries first came to British Columbia over 100 years ago. They continue to serve their valued clients and their communities across the province. For more information, please visit www.notaries.bc.ca.
Editors: Local Notaries are available in many areas of BC to talk about the importance of Advance Care Planning and what people should think about regarding their potential future health care needs.
Media Relations Contact:
 Margin of error: ±4.4% at 95% confidence level in the most conservative case; 6 percentage-point spread required between measures.