National Advance Care Planning Week is an annual initiative by Advance Care Planning Australia and this year is running from 21 - 27 March 2022. It is a time to talk about what matters most, encouraging all Australians, regardless of their age or health status, to make their future health care values, preferences and wishes known to their treating health care team and their loved ones.
These conversations can be challenging but important, and starting a conversation can assist people in determining what living well means to them and who they would like to make medical treatment decisions for them in the event they are too unwell to do this themselves. Ideally, these conversations lead to documenting a plan and nominating a substitute decision maker who ensures wishes are made known.
Emma Ning, the Acting Manager of the Advance Care Planning (ACP) program at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne says, ”At St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, we pride ourselves on patient centred, comprehensive care and Advance Care Planning is part of this. We have a program dedicated to improving how we conduct and document these important conversations with our patients. Part of our response includes having a group of clinicians nominated as Advance Care Planning Champions across the clinical areas of St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. The role of the Champions is to engage with patients in conversations about ACP and choosing a Medical Treatment Decision Maker (MTDM), provide patients with an ACP resource pack and encourage patients to continue the conversation with their GP or treating team. Clinicians’ document ACP conversations in a dedicated ACP discussion record in our online medical record so that we can pick up the conversation with our patients from last time. During National Advance Care Planning Week we want to acknowledge the commitment and work of our ACP Champions and raise patient awareness about the benefits of Advance Care Planning conversations.”
Image: Rachel Mupariwa – one of the ACP Champions at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne
One of the ACP Champions is Rachel Mupariwa, Associate Nurse Unit Manager in Palliative Care at Caritas Christi Campus, Kew (pictured). Ms Mupariwa says, “ACP ensures patients’ preferences for their future treatment and care is adhered to and respected, including during end of life care. I would like people to know that even when someone is dying, their wishes and values will be respected till the end.”
For more information during National Advance Care Planning Week, please visit: