A difficult conversation Saturday could save relatives worry in a crisis

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Terri Pask wants you to have a difficult but important conversation with your family on Saturday.

Pask, a register nurse specializing in Palliative Care at Bluewater Health, is part of a committee promoting National Advance Care Planning Day. The idea is families take some time to talk about what they would want if they were in the hospital and unable to make decisions for themselves on their care.

Pask says very often people simply avoid the conversation because they have already given someone power of attorney or think they have a living will – which isn’t something used in Ontario. Or they simply don’t want to talk about it. “We don’t want to think that we would be in that position,” she says. “But families are put in that position and never had that discussion.” And that makes it difficult to make a decision on care in the middle of a crisis.

Pask says you should sit down with family and be specific telling them things such as if I have a stroke, and can’t eat, I don’t want to live with a feeding tube. Pask says you have to decide “what makes life meaningful for me.”

And she suggests chosing one person to take the lead in an emergency. “You want someone who is going to respect your wishes and beliefs and understand what you would want in those situation,” says Pask.

There is help. Pask says there is information and planning kits available for Advanced Care Planning at

She adds being prepared will ‘take the burden off the family should a crisis arise.”

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