However, we could all experience an injury or illness that renders us incapable of making these decisions, or communicating our wishes, either temporarily or permanently.
This Advance Care Planning Week, we want to remind our community that planning ahead is relevant to everyone, and that our free Advance Care Planning Service is here to help you.
What is Advance Care Planning?
Advance Care Planning provides a clear process for talking about and documenting preferences for your future health care. The choices made through this process only come into operation if you no longer have capacity to make your own decisions regarding medical care and treatment.
The decisions you make when completing the relevant Advance Care Planning documentation will guide medical decision makers, your family and presiding doctors to make decisions based your expressed wishes and expectations.
“It is important to plan ahead while you are in good health, and you have plenty of time to think carefully about what’s important to you,” says our Advance Care Planning Clinician and Team Leader, Teresa Gillespie.
“The benefits of completing Advance Care Planning documents are numerous – it makes things easier for your family, helps doctors and others who care for you know what treatment you want, and gives you peace of mind that your medical wishes are known.”
“So, you can get on with living life to the fullest without worrying about what the future might hold!”
What documents can I complete to plan for my future?
In Victoria, there are two key Advance Care Planning documents that you can complete.
The first document is an ‘Advance Care Directive‘. This document records your wishes and expectations relating to your future medical care and treatment. It provides written evidence for your medical decision makers, family and doctors when they are making decisions on your behalf, because you are not able to participate in conversations or make decisions for yourself.
The second document is one that appoints a Medical Treatment Decision Maker (formerly known as a Medical Enduring Power of Attorney). This is a person that you choose to legally appoint under the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make decisions for yourself, or unable to communicate your wishes. It is best to choose a person who you trust, who knows you well, who is willing to respect your views and values, and who is willing to make decisions under circumstances that may be stressful.
We recommend you consider completing both documents.
The best time to complete Advance Care Planning is while your health is stable, and when you can think clearly about both your medical wishes and what is important to you.
We have a dedicated (and free!) Advance Care Planning Service with experienced clinicians who can guide you through the process and help you complete the necessary documents.
Referrals are required to access the service, which can be made either by your current Peninsula Health clinician or General Practitioner. Alternatively, you can self-refer by calling ACCESS on 1300 665 781.