The Advance Health Care Directive

Health is wealth. Do you agree?

Regardless of your answer, it is imperative to prepare for changes in our health, as we do for our wealth.

In our province, multiple efforts have been made to allow all adults to make health care choices now for situations that may be imminent or possible in our future.

This article will focus on Advance Directives.

Part 2.1 of Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission Act) states a capable adult may make an Advance Health Care Directive (consistent with statutory requirements) that gives and/or refuses consent to specific health care. The definition of health care for Advance Directives is “means anything that is done for a therapeutic, preventive, palliative, diagnostic, cosmetic, or other purpose related to health.”

Before making an Advance Directive, take steps to plan: 

  • Learn what health care options are available.
  • Discuss the options with your medical team, family, and/or friends.
  • Outline your requirements. 

Then sign the Advance Directive your BC Notary will prepare for you.

One example of an Advance Directive could be a person being aware that a specific disease is possible due to family traits. Upon noticing symptoms of the disease, a decision is made to prepare for the type of treatment desired to combat and/or live with the disease, as well as outline end-of-life requirements. As a part of the planning process to deal with the disease, with the help of a BC Notary the affected person will prepare and sign a written Advance Directive with clear instructions for treatment protocols.

A second example is longevity. Since we are living longer, why not plan for the possibility of extended care? Your Advance Directive can outline your care pattern with options for more than one extended care possibility. 

Are you planning on aging in your current residence? If so, what types of upgrades are required to your residence for health care purposes?

Have any of your relatives or friends expressed an interest in providing a suite for you in their residence, should you require further health care? If so, what are the parameters and how will you pay for that type of care? If you are moving in with family or friends, it is suggested you also consider an ancillary agreement for residence costs.

What if you have to live in a care facility? Do you want to outline the type of facility and perhaps request graduated health care?

“My Voice” is a care planning guide developed by the Province of BC. There are four basic steps outlined in the guide:

  • Access the My Voice advance care planning guide on the BC Government Website or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1. Many medical practitioners, hospitals, and related facilities offer print versions.
  • Ponder your values, beliefs, and wishes for future health care treatment.
  • Write down your values, beliefs, and wishes for future health care treatment. Decide what treatments are acceptable or not desired.
  • Write down the contact information for those people who can be asked to be your temporary substitute decision-makers (in order of individual priority) if a health care decision is needed for you. Your Advance Directive can specify the details.

Keep in mind that an Advance Directive does not require the appointment of a representative. All attempts should be made to enter into a Representation Agreement to appoint at least one representative who will be able to enforce your wishes and make all other personal/health decisions not covered by the Advance Directive.

Further, an Enduring Power of Attorney document is very important to allow for the payment of all expenses related to your Advance Directive. Imagine your relief and satisfaction in completing those matters!


Lorne Mann is a Notary practicing in Creston, BC.


Posted in Personal Planning