According to Palliative Care Australia 82% of Australians think it is important to talk to their family about how they want to be cared for, yet only 28% have actually done so.
What would be important to you in those last months of life?
Where would you like to be cared for?
Most of us want the opportunity to decide these important decisions. While they can be distressing conversations to have with family, friends and your GP, they are essential to have and play an incredibly important role in the issue of care at the end of life.
National Palliative care week aims to raise awareness and understanding about palliative care in the Australian community. This year, the theme is ‘what matters most?,' addressing the need for Australians to plan ahead for their end-of-life care and discuss it with their loved ones and health professionals.
When we prepare in advance for our death we are able to relieve the decision making burden on those closest to us. Advance care planning is a process to help people plan their medical and personal care in advance. Doctors will refer to your advance care plan if you can no longer communicate or make decisions.
In WA the components of an Advance Care Plan are:
- Enduring Power of Guardianship - appoint a substitute decision maker
- Advance Health Directive - to legally record a persons wishes regarding future medical treatments
- Advance Care Plan - to document a person's advance care planning discussion and inform their substitute decision maker or doctor, to assist them in making decisions for the person.
Advance care plans enhance patient participation in their care and there is evidence that it leads to better outcomes for both patients and families, while assisting health professionals in decision-making.
However, only 7.5% of West Australians currently have an advance care plan in place. National palliative care week aims to encourage Australians to be proactive and tell their care team about what matters most to them, so their treatment can be aligned with their goals.
Learn more about Palliative care
Learn more about Advance Care Planning
Learn more about the palliative and support care education we provide for health professionals
For further information or to learn more about the support we provide contact our Cancer Nurses by calling 13 11 20.