End-of-life planning 'takes that burden away from your family'

Talking about how you or your family members wish to be cared for before and as they die may not be an easy conversation — but it's a necessary one, say P.E.I. health care professionals.

'Then you know what mom would have wanted, or dad would have wanted'

'We know it provides better quality of life for that patient,' says P.E.I. palliative care nurse Sharon Ruckley. (Shaun Best/Reuters)

Talking about how you or your family members wish to be cared for before and as they die may not be an easy conversation — but it's a necessary one, say P.E.I. health care professionals.

Monday is Advance Care Planning Day in Canada, a day dedicated to encouraging people to have a plan in place for end-of-life care.

"If you can share your values and your wishes and options for your treatment you would or would not want, then it takes that burden away from your family," said Sharon Ruckley, a P.E.I. nurse with a master's degree in palliative care.

"Then you know what mom would have wanted, or dad would have wanted, and it just makes it a whole lot less stressful, and we know it provides better quality of life for that patient," Ruckley said. 

'Tragedies can happen'

Ruckley has witnessed disagreements among families, especially larger ones, about a loved one's care. 

'It's for everyone young and old,' says Ruckley. (CBC)

Ruckley encourages people to consider where they'd like their end-of-life care to be, whether it be at home or hospital. Think about who you'd like to be present, and what kind of music you might like to hear. 

Such planning is not just for those diagnosed with a terminal illness, she said. 

"Accidents, tragedies can happen, we don't ever know what's ahead of us — it's for everyone young and old," Ruckley said. 

For more information and to help make a plan, Ruckley suggests checking out the advance care planning website

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With files from Louise Martin