Call to action: write your own end-of-life care plan and do it now

Article published 1 August 2022

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TALKING about death may not be easy, but sometimes it is necessary.

Can you think of anything worse than having an unexpected medical emergency and, on top of all the stress you’re already feeling, having to scramble to figure out how you want to be cared for if things get worse?

Not to mention making sure someone you trust to carry out your wishes knows all this information as soon as possible.

If you want to avoid this situation at all costs, you need to make sure you put a plan in place now while you’re healthy.

The best way to do this is with an Advanced Care Directive.

You’ve probably heard the term thrown around before but what does an Advance Care Directive actually do?

It’s a little bit different in each state, but generally it lets you lay out a plan for your health care if you’re ever in a condition where you can’t communicate for yourself.

You can make note of your general values, like what’s important to you for a good quality of life, any religious or spiritual care you’d like, and preferences about where and how you’d like to receive palliative care.

Perhaps most importantly, it also provides medical practitioners specific instructions about what procedures you’re willing to undergo. This includes CPR, ventilation and artificial feeding, as well as organ and tissue donation.

Once you’ve completed the form, make sure you keep it somewhere it can be easily accessed and share a copy with your enduring guardian, family or carer, and doctor.

The last thing you want is to spend so much time figuring out what’s best for you only to not have it followed because no one knew where to find it.

Considering the peace of mind an Advance Care Directive can offer, the fact that only one-in-four people aged 65-and-over have completed an Advance Care Directive is sobering.

If you belong to the three-in-four people over-65 who have not taken control of their future health by completing their own Advance Care Directive, take action. It’s simple. You can do it at home.

You can find Advance Care Directive forms on state and territory Health Department websites, or head to Advance Care Planning Australia where you can find forms and information about the process in each state and territory. You can also call them on 1300 208 582 and they will send out the form for the state or territory you require.

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