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The best gift you can give your family

Pat chose to put an Advance Care Plan in place to make it easier for her family, should something happen to her.

Do your family know your wishes if you can’t make medical decisions for yourself?

Rosebud grandmother Pat Ferguson opted to put an Advanced Care Plan in place last year, so that her family now know exactly what her end of life care wishes are and don’t have to make those difficult decisions by themselves. 

“I’d named one of my daughters as my medical treatment decision maker and she commented that it’s a big responsibility,” explains Pat.

“The Advance Care Plan allows me to let my family know what I want to do, just in case something does happen. It takes all the worry and responsibility away from them.”

Pat says she knows having a loved one in a situation where they are unable to make decisions for themselves puts incredible strain on families.

“It’s a very sad time, I know of many families were one family member has wanted Mum or Dad to be kept going and the others disagree and there’s conflict.”

“Now with this Advance Care Plan there are no arguments – if we say we want to go, then that’s it.”

With the assistance of Peninsula Health Advance Care Planning Service, Pat completed the document.

“It was very, very easy to do and the questions were very pertinent.”

“When you get to your eighties you are closer to the end than you are to the beginning, so you have to start thinking about these things, especially while you still have your marbles.” 

One of the benefits of completing an Advance Care Plan is that it can now be loaded into your electronic My Health Record, so healthcare professionals anywhere in the country can access your wishes, should they need to.

My Health Record is an Australian Government initiative, which provides an online summary of your health information including GP visits, hospital admissions, allergies, medical conditions and treatments, medicine details, and test or scan results in one place.

By the end of 2018, an electronic My Health Record will be created for every Australian unless they choose not to have one. The three month opt out period begins on Monday 16 July and finishes on 15 October.

My Health Record will include important information about your end of life care wishes. But this only happens if you have an Advance Care Plan.

For help completing your Advance Care Plan, contact Peninsula Health’s free Advance Care Planning Service on 1300 665 781.

My Health Record

+ My Health Record is a Commonwealth Government Initiative

+ More than 5 million Australians already have a My Health Record

+ People with a My Health Record can access their health information online at any time

+ All episodes of care at Peninsula Health will be recorded in your My Health Record unless you request otherwise

+ You can opt out from My Health Record from Monday 16 July

Jessica Mills
JMills@phcn.vic.gov.au