National Advance Care Planning Week 22 - 26 March is the perfect time to start important conversations about what is important to you and your family, to make sure your future healthcare choices are known and respected.
Advance Care Planning includes the conversations we have with others, as well as the completion of an Advance Care Directive to formalise these wishes. Mid Battye, Team Leader for Integrated Care at Murrumbidgee Local Health District said Advance Care Directives are important as they will help your family and doctors know what you would want, if you are unable to tell them yourself.
“Your plan is unique to you, so it will align with your values and beliefs,” Mid Battye said. “It is reassuring for individuals and their families to have their preferences for care and treatment known and documented.”
“Currently, only 15% of Australians have documented their preferences in an Advance Care Directive.” Nikki Carson, Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Consultant, encourages people to talk about what matters most to them.
“MLHD Palliative Care Services provide high quality, patient and family focused care for people of all ages who have a life limiting illness, based on the person’s needs and their priorities. Advance Care Planning is an important part of being able to deliver this,” Ms Carson said.
“Starting these conversations with family and carers can be hard, but it is just so important, and should not be left until a time of crisis. We encourage everyone to consider what living well means to them, and who they would like to speak for them when they are too sick to speak for themselves.”
For people living with Dementia it is particularly important to consider future planning options in the early stages.
“This ensures that we are able to support them and respect the wishes they have around their care,” Ms Carson said.
“There are many resources to help with Advance Care Planning and a great place to start is visiting the Advance Care Planning Australia website.” https://www.advancecareplanning.org.au
Murrumbidgee Local Health District has a range of services to help with Advance Care Plans including: Aged Care Services Integrated Care and Management Palliative Care Services Community Nursing More information on Advance Care Planning and MLHD services can be found at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/patients/acp/Pages/default.aspx https://www.mlhd.health.nsw.gov.au/our-services/palliative-care
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