How to start talking about advance care planning

This year, Advance Care Planning Week (April 1 to 5) is focusing on starting a conversation about advance care planning.

While we may have ideas about how we’d like to be cared for in the event that we are unable to care for ourselves, it’s important that our loved ones also know our wishes.

This is where advance care planning comes in.

While formal documentation, such as Enduring Power of Attorney, Advance Health Directives or Statement of Choices, can often spring to mind when people think about advance care planning, the first step of the process is having a conversation with loved ones. This can also extend to your GP or any other specialists you see regularly.

This year’s Advance Care Planning Week theme is ‘your life, your voice, your choice’ and encourages people to start talking about what they value most when it comes to their health and future care needs.

This can include what’s on your mind when it comes to your health, what treatments you may want or not want to receive and what trade-offs you’d consider to keep living life your way. While it can seem like a touchy subject, being open and honest about your needs can arm your family with important knowledge to ensure they support you the way you’d like to be supported.

On the flipside, as a family member, you may need to start the conversation if you’re worried that you don’t know your loved one’s wishes are as they get older.

But how do you get started?

Advance Care Planning Australia offer the following conversation starters to get to the heart of your goals, aspirations and wishes:

About me:

Being able to ……………… is the most important thing to me

For me, a life worth living is where I ………………

……………… is important to me to live well

About life:

What does a good day look like to you?

What’s in your bucket list?

What do you value most in life?

About choices:

I would want ……………… to make medical decisions on my behalf if I was unable to

If ……………… happened to me, I would want ………………

I was thinking about what happened to ……………… and it made me realise that ………………

Once you’ve had the conversation, you can then go on to formalise your wishes through a Statement of Choices form or Advance Health Directive.

Advance Care Planning have a range of resources that can help you with your planning.

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