Along with your Will and Power of Attorney, it is also an important part of your estate planning process to consider your health care preferences.
In 2014, Alberta became the first province to have a province-wide advance care planning policy, encouraging healthcare providers to talk with patients to learn about their care preferences sooner.
Alberta has also introduced a medical order called the goals of care designation, which describes your healthcare wishes. Created in Calgary in 2008, this system has replaced “Do not resuscitate” orders to better guide the focus of a person’s healthcare. The designation can include a focus on medical care (interventions to cure or manage an illness), comfort care (pain management and other comforts during a life-limiting illness), or resuscitative care (attempting to prolong life with resuscitation and intensive care). Patients can carry their goals of care order, advance care plan and other documents such as their medication list and will in a Green Sleeve, a simple folder available from Alberta Health Services.
I wanted to share with you this helpful information from Alberta Health Services:
A Green Sleeve is a plastic pocket that holds your advance care planning forms. Think of it like a medical passport. It holds important legal forms that go with you through the healthcare system. In an emergency, Alberta Health Services medical providers can look at your Green Sleeve and know your healthcare wishes.
You can get a Green Sleeve from any Alberta Health Services provider. You can ask your family doctor for one or a nurse might suggest you get one. If you’re having trouble getting a Green Sleeve, you can have up to 4 Green Sleeves mailed to your home by following these instructions. The Green Sleeve holds a copy of your personal directive, your goals of care designation, and a tracking record
A personal directive (PD) can help you if you aren't able to talk or make your wishes known. It lists important healthcare decisions, like where you might want to live or what’s important to you. You’ll name one or more people you trust to make personal and healthcare decisions for you. They will only do this if you can’t make them yourself because of illness or injury.
The goals of care designation (GCD) is a medical order written by your doctor or nurse practitioner after talking with you and the healthcare team. You do not write on this form. Your GCD is made up of a letter and number.
When your PD, GCD, and tracking forms are put together in the Green Sleeve, it acts as a single source of truth for your healthcare wishes. At home, place your completed Green Sleeve on or near the fridge. This is where health responders are trained to look in an emergency. You should also give a copy of the forms in the Green Sleeve to your agent, family, and healthcare provider. Bring your Green Sleeve to all health appointments.
Please contact us if you have any questions about Green Sleeves, PDs and GCDs.