"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bringing The Baby Home .. At Long Last

For what it's worth (and in the disability community it's worth is certainly debatable), the Personal Directives Act comes into force today.

The "much awaited" regulations can be found here.
[Also for what they're worth.]

Health Minister Maureen MacDonald said the new legislation goes beyond instructions for health care.

She said people will be able to assign someone to make sure their wishes for personal needs such as recreation and hygiene are followed.

"It means that people, and particularly, I imagine, people who are older or persons with disabilities, with perhaps some kind of a condition that has a degenerative element, would have the security of knowing that how they wish to be treated will be respected."
And that, right there, would appear to be the critical thing.

For a person with a degenerative condition, this legislation could be very useful. And for seniors planning ahead, much as one would have a Power of Attorney as part of an estate plan, so too would it make sense to have some form of personal directive, both for health care and other issues.

Enter the Personal Directives Act.

Meaning it's probably a good piece of legislation. For what it is.

As long as no one confuses it with what it's not. As some surely will.

That being said, if you're looking for information as to exactly how the process works under the Act ...
As of Thursday, forms will be available through the Justice Department website or through Service Nova Scotia offices, said Health Department spokesman Ryan Van Horne.

There will be two forms, one to appoint a delegate and the other to outline details of expected care and treatment. A booklet explaining the act also will be available.

"The Personal Directives Act covers a wide range of things, including personal-care decisions," Van Horne said.

"For example, if you are admitted to a nursing home and you are a vegetarian, you could ensure that you get a vegetarian diet or that you got fresh air for an hour a day."
Well, let's hope the legislation is good for a little more than just maintaining your vegetarian diet in long-term care.

Which, of course, it is. I just couldn't resist the snark, it seeming like such a strange example to give.

And as to why exactly it's taken so long to actually become law, welcome to politics in Nova Scotia.

The act was passed in May 2008 after it was introduced by Cecil Clarke, who was then the justice minister in the Conservative government. MacDonald couldn’t say why it has taken almost two years for the act to take effect, but she said regulations had to be written and staff in health-care settings and elsewhere had to be trained in the new rules.

Van Horne said officials had hoped to bring the act into force last fall but it got sidelined by the H1N1 crisis.
Yeah, those regulations. They are, after all, both lengthy and substantial.

Well, we can, I suppose, chalk at least one thing up for our beleagured NDP government.

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