Health Care Considerations
May we defend it [life] and promote it [life] from conception to its natural end.
Excerpt from Prayer for Reverence for Life
Providing for Final Health Care
Occasionally, situations arise when one who is sick cannot contribute to medical decisions. In these cases, a document directing medical personnel and family about continuing or withdrawing treatment is very important. Such advance directives allow you to guide treatment according to your wishes.
Once you have completed the forms, distribute paper copies and clearly communicate the specifics of your directives to those who need to know.
Advance Care Planning
Catholic Moral Teaching
There is tension between euthanasia and the decision to forego overly aggressive medical treatment. One extreme is bringing about death directly. This is not permissible. The other extreme is use of all available means as extraordinary measures. Catholic moral teaching allows for the discontinuation of medical treatments that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2278).
Donating organs can lengthen or improve quality of life, and therefore is a genuine service to one’s neighbour, provided no one is forced to do it (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2296).
A clear understanding of your options and choices is essential. Certain legal forms, cards or permissions, most commonly a driver’s license sticker, need to be in order. Discuss your preferences with family and various professionals in light of ethical and moral, legal and medical options. The overall goal is to determine and record your choices in advance.
Preparing for Conversations about My Health
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and Providence Health Care (PHC) encourage people, particularly those living with a serious illness, to voice their wishes in conversations with their health care providers about their care. We provide these questions below for you to think about and share with your primary care provider or discuss with the health care team if you visit a hospital for care.
“Some years ago attended a presentation by Gardens of Gethsemani at our church and found it very informative, after which my husband and I made all our ‘pre-arrangements.’ Highly recommend this to everyone.”
“I had often wanted to end my days at Gardens of Gethsemani, but for some time, I put it off. Finally, a death in my own family prompted me to take action and request a meeting. During and after the meeting, with a well qualified representative, I felt much better. I feel that by arranging a place for myself and others, my earthly remains are secure, in holy ground and a sign for those following us of what we all stood for when we lived.”