National Advance Care Planning Week runs from April 1-5 and aims to raise awareness about the importance of advance care planning, and encourage Australians to speak up about their future care by telling loved ones what living well means to them.
What is advance care planning?
Advance care planning is a process to help people understand and plan both medical care and lifestyle choices in advance. If they become too unwell to make decisions for themselves, their wishes can still be respected by the healthcare team, family and carers.
Having an advance care plan is important because:
• It gives you options and a voice at a time when you're unable to speak for yourself
• It creates a roadmap for your future care so that your preferences are heard and respected
• It can ease suffering and alleviate the burden from loved ones who are left to make serious medical decisions on your behalf.
• For people facing serious chronic illness like cancer, stroke, and early dementia, an advance care plan puts them in the driver's seat, helping them maintain control of their medical treatment until the end.
Why do we need to raise awareness about the importance of having an advance care plan?
Australia has as ageing population, yet less than 15% of Australian adults (30% of people aged 65+) have an advance care plan.
However, research shows that advance care planning can reduce anxiety, depression and stress experience by families and that they're more likely to be satisfied with their loved one's care when an advance care plan is in place.
An important part of healthy ageing is making informed choices about your medical care and planning for future events.
Conversations are a key part of the advance care planning process. National Advance Care Planning week aims to raise awareness of the importance of having an ACP and help to encourage families to begin conversations around what matters most to them.
Conversation starters with loved ones might include, things like:
• "If you became too sick to speak for yourself, who would you like to speak for you and what health care decisions would you like them to make?"
• "For me a life worth living is where I ..."
• I don't think Uncle Frank had a good death, I would prefer..."
What are we working on in the advance care planning space?
Our Palliative and Supportive Care Education team work to educate and empower health professionals to adhere to best practices within palliative and supportive care.
In line with National Advance Care Planning week we're delivering a workshop for health professionals aimed at extending and expanding palliative care knowledge.
The workshop will focus on ‘Advance Care Planning including a legal perspective' and will provide attendees with the opportunity to interact and talk with experts in the field.