Important life choices are planned, not left to chance.
Advance Care Planning Week is an annual initiative by Advance Care Planning Australia that encourages all Australians, regardless of their age or health status, to make their future health care preferences known.
This awareness week provides an opportunity for people to discuss what living well means to them and to consider who they would want to speak for them, if they were unable to speak for themselves.
Advance care planning is the process of planning for your future health care and it gives you the opportunity to think about, discuss and record your preferences for the type of care you would like to receive and what outcomes you would find acceptable.
It asks you to think about what health care you would like, or would not like, to receive if you were to become seriously ill or were unable to communicate your choices. This often relates to the care you wish to receive towards the end of your life and it also helps to ensure your loved ones and health professionals know what your preferences are so that these preferences are followed and respected.
Starting the conversation
Some important things to think about:
- There are no right or wrong answers – this is about your individual choices.
- You can change your answers at any time.
- You do not have to answer all of the questions.
- You can answer some questions now and some questions another time.
- Sharing your answers may help those around you know what you would and would not want, if you could not tell them.
It is important to remember these Discussion Starters are not an Advance Care Plan / Directive.
They can however help you to start thinking about what’s important to you before you begin to document your advance care planning wishes.
What Matters Most - Plain Language Discussion Starter
This is an editable PDF that asks you questions and allows you to record your thoughts and opinions before saving or printing the document.
This resource was initially developed for people with dementia and those in aged care, but it is an accessible and plain language resource that helps you to think about what matters most to you: What Matters Most
This resource is also available in Arabic, Croatian, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Maltese, Polish, Simplified Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Working out what’s right for you – Comprehensive Discussion Starter
This is an editable PDF that asks you questions about what is important to you and allows you to record your thoughts and opinions and then save or print the document.
This resource was originally developed for regional and remote Australians but is now a comprehensive guide to help you think about what is right for you and to record those choices.Working out what’s right for you
Advance Care Directives
An advance care directive is sometimes known as a living will. It's something you create for yourself and involves documenting your preferences for future care. It can include your values, life goals and preferred outcomes, and directions about care and treatments. You can also formally appoint a substitute decision-maker in an advance care directive.
There is no special form that you must use, however there are forms provided by state health departments that you may want to use for convenience. Advance care directives are legally binding and any preferences for health care that you document must be followed if they are needed in the future.
Writing your Advance Care Directive
The process of creating an advance care directive and the names of the required documents varies between states and territories. Check the relevant information for creating a plan in your state and on choosing a substitute decision-maker to help ensure your preferences are respected.
- New South Wales: create your plan
- Australian Capital Territory: create your plan
- Northern Territory: create your plan
Further support and information
Advance Care Planning Australia can offer support on all matters relating to advance care planning. You might like support with:
- the advance care planning process or documentation in your state or territory
- starting the conversation about advance care planning making sure your goals, values and preferences are heard
- choosing or being a substitute decision-maker
- storing, accessing and enacting advance care planning documents
Call the support service on 1300 208 582 9am - 5pm (AEST) Monday to Friday.
If you would prefer to write, you can use the online form here: Contact us - Advance Care Planning Australia
My Health Record
The Australian Government has developed My Health Record, a way to store a secure online summary of your health information. Information such as reports for specialists, imaging reports, test results etc. can be viewed online and shared as needed with your family/doctor/hospital.
Kelly Arthurs, Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Consultant, presented at our Living Well with MND day in October 2019. Kelly's presentation covers advance care planning, where to find documentation and further information, what is palliative care and NSW Ambulance Care Plans. Watch this presentation here: 2019 LWWMND - Living well and planning ahead - Kelly Arthurs - YouTube
Please note: There have since been changes to the requirements for Ambulance Care Plans, for further information visit: Authorised Care Plans - NSW Ambulance