Advance Care Planning
It’s important to talk with your GP about your end-of-life wishes
Make time to have a discussion about your end-of-life wishes with your General Practitioner. If your wishes are documented, then you can have some control over health care decisions, even at times when you may be too unwell to discuss your health care.
Advance Care Planning is a process to help you plan your medical care in advance. It is important because some time in the future you may become too unwell to make decisions for yourself. If you have no problems communicating and can make your own health decisions, your advance care plan will not need to be used. Your doctors will talk to you about your health care choices.
Doctors will refer to your advance care plan if you can no longer communicate or make decisions. For example, this might happen if you have a stroke or serious accident, or become unconscious, or if you develop dementia. In some cases illnesses, such as cancer, may mean the medication you take or the pain you have may make you unable to communicate.
Benefits of Advance Care Planning
If you were very sick, it may fall to your family or close friends to make decisions about your health care. That can be a very stressful time where family members or loved ones may not agree with approaches to your care. If they have a document where you talk about the type of care that you would want, this can help them make decisions on your behalf.
It can help you too. For example if you were very sick, you might know that you don’t want to be kept on life support if you were not likely to recover. You might know that you want all available treatment, even if that treatment might have side-effects that make you very sick. Writing down what is, and is not, okay for you can help doctors consider your wishes and individual preferences when planning your care.
When should I do it?
You never know when you might be in an accident, or face a serious health condition. It is never too early to plan ahead. This can be as simple as talking to your family and close friends about your health care wishes. Some people see the completion of an advance care plan being just like filling in a Will. In fact, many people complete both documents at the same time.
If you have a chronic disease, if you are elderly or if your health seems to be getting worse, it is even more important to have a plan in place. Talk to your family about your health care wishes and document your advance care plan.
To view and print the Tasmanian Advanced Care Planning forms, click on the link below