There are likely to be many questions you as a member of the community or as a health professional may have. This is a sample of questions you may have when thinking about advance care planning.
Remember advance care planning is a process, not just a document. It’s important for people to review their plans regularly, especially when something changes. Continue the conversations with the community of care- family, friends, health professionals, pharmacists etc.
- What is advance care planning?
Advance care planning is a process of reflection and communication, a time to reflect on values and wishes, and to let others know your future health and personal care preferences in the event that you become incapable of consenting to or refusing treatment or other care.
- What is an advance care plan?
An advance care plan is a verbal or written summary of a competent adult’s wishes or instructions about the kind of care they want or do not want in the event that they cannot speak for themselves. It includes what their religious or spiritual care needs may be and other wishes such as values, cultural issues and geographical issues. An advance care plan can be written down or simply told to someone who is authorised to speak for the patient. It can guide a representative if that person is asked by a health care provider to make treatment decisions on behalf of the adult.
- What is an advance care directive?
An advance care directive is a written document, intended to apply to future periods of impaired decision-making capacity, which provides a legal means for a competent adult to instruct a substitute decision maker and/or to record preferences for future health and personal care. Making specific directives ahead of time may not be advisable because they may not meet your needs in the actual circumstances.
Although state and territory government laws vary on advance care planning and advance health directives, advance health directives, in some form are legally binding documents in every state/territory of Australia.
- Who should I talk to about advance care planning?
You should talk to your doctor about advance care planning, as they have an ongoing and trusted relationship with you and would be skilled in helping you establish your plan. You should also talk with the people who would most likely be involved in making decisions on your behalf. Identify your substitute decision maker or representative and discuss your future health care plan with them, as well as other family and friends.
- Who should be my representative or substitute decision maker?
A trusted representative who knows you well and can discuss with the doctors and nurses the options for care that are appropriate at the time is the best choice for being your representative. Your representative is the person who will speak for you when you cannot.
- Where can I find out more information about advance care planning?
WA Health Department Links
NSW Health Advance Care Planning- Making your wishes known
Victorian Department of Health- Advance Care Planning
SA Health- Advance Health Directive
Northern Territory- Advance Care Planning
Tasmania- Advance Care Planning for healthy dying
Queensland- Advance Care Planning Online
ACT Health- Advance Care Planning
- Do I have to make an advance care plan?
Advance care planning is a process that all members of the community, and especially those who are at risk of deterioration in health, can benefit from. A person may also wish to complete an advance care plan for other reasons or simply for peace of mind in case of unexpected illness or injury.
- Can I put my advance care plan on my electronic health record?
The current personally controlled electronic health record is being designed in such a way that your advance care plan can be uploaded to it.
- Who should have a copy of my plan?
Copies of your advance care plan should be given to your representative, members of your family and your doctor.