National Advance Care Planning Week (18 – 24 March)

National Advance Care Planning Week provides an ideal opportunity to participate in an education event or discuss your values with loved ones, highlighting what matters most to you. This is also important for healthcare professionals. It’s like the analogy of the plumber with the leaky tap at home. While professionally you may be working with advance care directives and discussing advance care planning regularly, have you had those type of conversations with your own family? National Advance Care Planning week could be a great week to do this.

Advance care planning includes reflecting on and discussing your future healthcare preferences and enables healthcare providers to comprehend and honour an individual’s future healthcare choices, especially when they become seriously ill and unable to communicate their preferences.

Through advance care planning, individuals can document their wishes regarding medical treatments and interventions, ensuring that their values and beliefs are respected even in challenging circumstances. This process empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their future healthcare, providing peace of mind for both themselves and their loved ones.

By initiating these important conversations and establishing clear directives, advance care planning allows for personalised and dignified care that aligns with an individual’s desires and values. It serves as a valuable tool in promoting autonomy, compassion, and understanding in the delivery of healthcare services.

𝑨𝒅𝒗𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝑪𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝑫𝒊𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝑽𝒔 𝑨𝒅𝒗𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒄𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝑷𝒍𝒂𝒏𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈

Making an advance care directive is an important part of advance care planning. The directive is a formalised version of your advance care plan. It outlines your preferences for your future care along with your beliefs, values and goals. Having an advance care directive means you can also formally appoint a substitute decision-maker for when you can no longer make decisions yourself.

Source: Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care

Currently, in NSW, there is not one particular form a person must use to write down their wishes. This is because there is no advance care planning legislation in NSW. When choosing a form, people should think about how well it meets their needs and purpose. The ‘𝑀𝑎𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎𝑛 𝐴𝑑𝑣𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝐶𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝐷𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒’ package, from NSW Health, includes an Advance Care Directive form to complete and an Information Booklet to help people complete their Advance Care Directive. Find the package

An Advance Care Directive will only be used if you do not have capacity to make decisions for yourself or to communicate your preferences.

𝑰𝒏 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝑨𝒅𝒗𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝑪𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝑫𝒊𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆, 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝒘𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒆:

  • an instructional directive with legally binding instructions about future medical treatment you consent to or refuse
  • a values directive which documents your values and preferences for your substitute decision-maker to consider when making decisions for you
  • details of your enduring guardian(s) or Person(s) Responsible.

Source: Advance Care Planning Australia