Plan ahead for your future health care with Advance Care Planning

We all have the right to make our own medical treatment decisions. 

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 2023, 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.

What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance Care Planning provides a clear process for talking about, and documenting, preferences for people’s future health care. The choices made through this process only come into operation if people no longer have capacity to make their own decisions regarding medical care and treatment. 

The decisions people make when completing the relevant Advance Care Planning documentation will guide medical decision makers, their family and presiding doctors to make decisions based their expressed wishes and expectations.

“It is important to plan ahead while people are in good health, and have plenty of time to think carefully about what’s important to them,” says Laura Bell,  Advance Care Planning Clinician and Team Leader.

“Advance Care Planning documents makes things easier for patients’ families, helps doctors and others who care for them to know what treatment they want, and gives them peace of mind that their medical wishes are known.”

“So, they can get on with living life to the fullest without worrying about what the future might hold!”

What documents can you complete to plan for your future?

In Victoria, there are two key Advance Care Planning documents that a person 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 all medical decision makers, family members and medical teams while they are making decisions on your behalf because of the inability to participate in conversations or make decisions.

The second document is one which appoints a Medical Treatment Decision Maker (formerly known as a Medical Enduring Power of Attorney).  This is the person(s) that you choose to legally make medical treatment decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make decisions for yourself or are unable to communicate your wishes.

We recommend you consider completing both documents. 

When should you complete Advance Care Planning?

The best time to complete Advance Care Planning is when you’re feeling you’re best, and can think clearly about your medical wishes and what is important to you.

How can I access Peninsula Health’s Advance Care Planning Service?

If you want assistance to plan ahead, complete an ACCESS referral to our free Advance Care Planning Service. Once the referral has been received, an appointment will be made with an experienced Advance Care Planning Clinician who will provide support and guidance to discuss and complete the necessary documents. More information on Advance Care Planning can be found here.