Advance care planning catches on

Take control of your future with advance care planning.
Take control of your future with advance care planning.

THERE has been a huge surge in the number of people seeking advice about taking control of their future health care.

Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) has reported a 462 per cent rise in calls in the six months to May this year.

Funded by the Australian Government, ACPA has operated a free nationwide advisory service since July 2014. It supports individuals, families and healthcare professionals with specialised advance care planning information, research and advice.

“It’s great to see more interest in advance care planning which previously has not been well understood in Australia. Our role is to support people to make the best choices for their life and health care, based on their personal values and beliefs. It’s what we would want for ourselves and our loved ones,” said the organisation’s medical director Dr Karen Detering.

The organisation said the surge in the number of calls could be down to a range of factors including  increased Australian and state government focus on advance care planning and the inaugural National Advance Care Planning Week, held in April this year.

Legislative changes governing advance care planning in Victoria also came into effect in March this year, stimulating an increase in calls from Victorians.

ACPA’s advisory service can help people navigate the complexities of advance care planning, offering specialist advice including; how to start the conversation, help with forms relevant to each state and territory, as well as documenting preferences in an Advanced Care Directive.  

They may be people with early dementia or a life-limiting disease, such cancer, who want to make plans for their future health care, people with ageing parents, as well as younger individuals keen to document their preferences in the event of an unexpected medical emergency.

“We can’t control everything about ageing, however good advance care planning can help people and their families prepare for a time when they can no longer make their own medical decisions. Just like completing a will, advance care planning can help people face the future with greater confidence, knowing that their choices will be respected,” said Dr Detering.

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