‘Be prepared’, the scout’s motto, rings true for many things in life – and death. Planning for our health future is important for everyone.
This week is National Advance Care Planning Week. Advance care planning is a conversation about how we wish to be treated under circumstances in which we are not able to speak for ourselves.
A serious or life changing illness can happen at any stage of life. Advance care planning considers what matters most and what is most important to you for quality of life. This is unique to you.
The key to planning ahead is having the conversations that matter with your family and health care providers so that everyone is clear about your wishes. Advance care planning can be as simple as discussing your wishes and ensuring that your family or trusted substitute decision maker is aware of your wishes, and that they are documented.
Having your choices recorded for a time when you may be unable to make decisions yourself can enable you to receive the care you want, but cannot convey at the time. This means that families and health professionals know what your preferences are. This can give everyone some peace of mind when hard decisions need to be made or where family members may have differing views.
Having these important reflections and conversations, and communicating what matters most to you, your values and preferences for care and treatment, can assist others to ensure your choices are respected and helps caregivers in considering your preferences in a crisis.
An Advance Care Directive is a legal form to document personal wishes, preferences and instructions for future health care, end of life, living arrangements and personal matters and/or appoint one or more Substitute Decision-Makers to make these decisions when you may be unable to do so yourself. It cannot be used to make financial decisions.
Trustworthy information can help people understand the options and make informed decisions. Similarly, having access to reliable, up to date research evidence can also help health and aged care professionals with decisions about treatment and help provide the best possible quality of care.
So ‘Be prepared!’.
A wealth of information is available from: