Care Options to Consider in Your Plan

Information on organ donation in B.C.

You can register to be an organ donor in BC online or by calling 1-800-663-6189 to get a registration form in the mail.

Make sure your family knows if you wish to be an organ and tissue donor. Even if you have registered as a donor, health professionals still need to ask your family for consent before recovering organs or tissue. Organ donation can take place only if your family consents at the time of death.

Life support can mean medical or surgical procedures such as a feeding tube, breathing machines or CPR used to restore and/or continue life. Without life support, you would die if you are critically ill.

What is a breathing machine (a ventilator)?

• A ventilator pushes air through a tube directly into a person’s lungs.
• The ventilator may keep them alive long enough for their body to fight the disease.

How well does ventilation work?
• Most terminally ill people who are put on a ventilator do not survive.
• Those who survive may never return to their previous health.
• The longer people are on a ventilator the more likely they are to have a poor outcome
or die.

What is cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)?
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure used if you stop breathing or your heart stops beating.
It can include:
• Pressing forcefully on your chest and possibly breathing into your mouth.
• Electrical shock and drugs to try and start your heart.

How well does cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) work?
• Very few people of all ages survive CPR in hospital.
• CPR can cause injuries, such as broken ribs or bruised lungs.
• People who survive CPR often need a ventilator afterwards.
• About half of the people who survive CPR are left with brain damage and ongoing
serious health issues.

Who is most likely to be helped by a ventilator or CPR?
• People who were mostly healthy before becoming seriously ill.
• Those who only need a ventilator for a short time (days or a week or two).

Who is less likely to be helped by a ventilator or CPR?
• Those who have heart, lung, liver, or kidney failure.
• Those who have a terminal illness, such as advanced cancer or advanced dementia.
• Those who are older or very frail.

Palliative Care is care that is focused on keeping you comfortable and free of pain, and may include medicine, treatments, physical care, psychological/social services and spiritual support, both for you and for those who are helping to care for you.

Learn More About Palliative Care

Along with other eligibility requirements and safeguards, only you can request and consent to medical assistance in dying (MAiD). According to the current law for MAiD, you must be capable of making decisions about your health care and able to clearly communicate your consent at the time of the procedure.

The law does not allow substitute decision makers or instructions through an advance directive to give consent for MAiD on your behalf.

Visit the Government of B.C.’s website for the most up-to-date information on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).

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