National Advance Care Planning Week is an annual initiative by Advance Care Planning Australia and this year is running from 20 - 26 March 2023.
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 choices 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 an Advance Care Directive and nominating a medical treatment decision maker who ensures these preferences are made known.
Caroline Scott, the Manager of the Advance Care Planning (ACP) program at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne says,
‘At St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, it’s very important for us to know the values of our patients, so that we can provide the care they want when they are unable to speak for themselves. There are two important questions that all our clinicians should ask their patients. They are:
- Have you appointed a person you trust to speak on your behalf if you were too sick to speak for yourself? The legal term for this is called a Medical Treatment Decision Maker or formerly known as Medical Power of Attorney.
- Have you ever written down your future healthcare choices? This is called an Advance Care Directive.
Asking these two important patient focused questions help us to provide and align care which is based on the values of our patients.
For more information during National Advance Care Planning Week, please visit the link below: