Advance Care Planning is not just about old age. At any age, a medical crisis could leave someone too ill to make his or her own healthcare decisions.
Even if you are not sick now, making healthcare plans for the future is an important step toward ensuring you get the medical care you would want, even when doctors and family members are making the decisions for you.
What is an Advance Care Plan?
An Advance Care Plan (ACP) is a process for making and writing down future health care preferences.
ACPs are also known as Advance Directives and will only come into effect if you become unwell and unable to make or communicate those preferences for yourself.
Information in your ACP will guide your family and doctor when making medical treatment decisions on your behalf.
If a person has 'impaired decision‐making capacity', it may be written on their behalf by their legally appointed Medical Enduring Power of Attorney or legal 'substitute decision‐maker' (known as the ‘Person Responsible’ ).
People with impaired decision-making capacity should still take part in this planning as much as they are able.
We're here to help
There is a lot to take into consideration when you are putting your plan together.
You may like to talk to our Advance Care Planning Project Worker or a member of the clinical team working in one of our medical or surgical units.
There is a guide called 'ACP in 3 Steps' to get you started. In simple terms it suggests:
A. Appoint an Agent
You can sign a legal form making it clear who you want to make medical decisions for you if you are too sick to do it yourself. This is a 'Medical Enduring Power of Attorney'.
C. Chat and Communicate
Talk to your family, friends and doctors about your values, beliefs and health care preferences. Tell them about what is important for you. Also, talk to your doctors or other health professionals to find out more about what might be ahead.
P. Put in on Paper
If there is something you feel strongly about, you can write it down in an Advance Care Plan/Directive or in a letter describing your health care values and preferences for future medical treatments, including what type of medical treatment you would agree to, and what you would not want.
Think about writing down your Advance Care Plan/ Directive if:
- you have firm preferences about future medical treatment
- you have no-one, or no-one suitable, that you could appoint as a Medical Enduring Power of Attorney
- you have preferences for your health care that are different from what you think your family would want for you.
Phone our Advance Care Planning Project Worker on 5173 8495.
Interpreter Service: Please call 131 450 (free service).