If you were unable to speak for yourself, who would speak for you? And what health care decisions would you want them to make?
Launching for the first time in Australia, National Advance Care Planning Week (16-22 April) is part of an international public awareness effort encouraging people to consider these questions and discuss their future healthcare preferences with their loved ones.
To raise awareness about Advance Care Planning locally, staff from Far West Local Health District will be located at the Westside Plaza on Thursday, 19th April from 9.30am to 2 pm.
Melissa Cuming, Director Cancer & Palliative Care Services said: “Staff would help people with tips on how to have these conversations about this topic with family, and how to identify and document your wishes if you were unable to speak for yourself.”
Advance care planning promotes care that is consistent with your goals, values, beliefs and preferences. It prepares you and others to plan for future health care and a time when you may no longer be able to communicate those decisions yourself.
Around half of Australians will not be able to make their own end-of-life medical decisions. 85% of people die after a chronic illness, not a sudden event. The aim is to empower people to understand that they have a choice about their end-of-life care and the steps they can take today to enable control of their future health care, and ensure their wishes are respected.
“The importance of conversations with loved ones about what quality of life looks like to them and what they value most, are pivotal to ensuring a person’s wishes are respected,” said Ms Cumming.
The National Advance Care Planning Week website offers downloadable resources for advance care planning, including videos, personal stories and conversation starters, as well as relevant forms for each state and territory.