Dying to Know Day: Be open, ready and heard

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THINK AHEAD: Advance Care Planning is an ongoing process that needs cooperation between individuals, their families, care workers, and health professionals as well as community and healthcare organisations.

THINK AHEAD: Advance Care Planning is an ongoing process that needs cooperation between individuals, their families, care workers, and health professionals as well as community and healthcare organisations.

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Advance care planning relates to a person approaching end of life and lets everyone involved in the care process know the wishes of that person  in regards to their health and medical care.

It can make sure that a person’s wishes about future care are taken into consideration and  helps carers with difficult last-minute decisions about treatment when a person may no longer be able to have their say.

The advance care planning process encourages you to reflect on what is important to you, your beliefs, values, goals and preferences in life.

You can create an advance care plan that may include:

  • an Advance (Health or Care) Directive (or other similar document)
  • an enduring power of attorney (or other similar document)
  • a letter to the person who will be responsible for your decision making
  • an entry in your medical record
  • instructions which clearly voice your view.

The advance care planning process encourages you to reflect on what is important to you, your beliefs, values, goals and preferences in life.

It can simply be a conversation with a trusted loved one or you can write it down.

A written plan is known as an advance care plan or advance care directive.

It should reflect a person’s beliefs, values and preferences. 

You don't have to be ill to make a plan.

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Even if you're young and healthy, you should think about your preferences and discuss them with your loved ones, honestly and openly.

The discussion should involve doctors, nurses, care workers, allied health professionals, and most importantly, the person, their substitute decision-maker(s) and/or family.

By creating a plan in advance, these people can understand how you would like to be cared for.

It keeps you involved in your medical decisions, both now and in the future, whether you are healthy or have an illness, or reach a point where you can’t communicate decisions about your care.

Your family and friends will find it easier to make informed decisions on your behalf, because you have explained your wishes.

Each state and territory has different names for the documents you can use to create an advance care plan.

For more info visit www.www.myagedcare.gov.au.