Advanced care planning isn't just for old people!
It is best to start planning when you are well, when you can think clearly and can consider your options.
But it is more important if you have a chronic illness, several diseases, early cognitive impairment or nearing the end of your life.
Once you create an advance care directive document, you will need to visit your local Doctor and have the form signed in front of a witness. It then needs to be distributed to the places where staff may need to refer to it in the future. For example: your Doctor, your local hospital, my gov, your family or medical decision maker.
Advanced care planning isn't just about what medical interventions you would like or not like.
It can also include your thoughts about a perfect death. "Pain free, with a sting quartet playing quietly in the background, and your favourite pet dog next to you"
If you don't write it down, who will know! Start the conversation...
DO YOU HAVE AN HOME CARE PACKAGE?
It may be able to be funded by your home care package.
Ask Alison how.
If you are thinking of creating an advanced care directive Alison can certainly guide you through the process. Once you have everything written down, she will even drive you to your Doctor to get it signed and witnessed and then will assist you to distribute a copy to those who need it.
It is created by you, for you. As opposed to an advance care plan where someone creates an end of life care plan for another person who has diminished or no capacity to make decisions themselves. It involves careful consideration of your values, your beliefs and your wishes. It makes your end of life care so much easier for those making the decisions and your health care professionals. It is an invaluable gift.
If you value being pain free, not being a burden on your family, or maintaining dignity then write it down so your family know what you value and what you don't.
"If I am unable to recognise my family and friends and cannot communicate, I do not want any medical treatment to prolong my life." "If I am dying, I would like to be in a comfortable environment surrounded by my friends and family.”
What you believe to be true should be made known. At the end of your life, do you want a priest to carry out the last rites? What is it that you believe and if you are unable to speak for yourself what practices would you like followed. "'I don't follow any religious practices, but I would like to listen to my favourite football team team song while I take my last breaths"
By writing your wishes down in an advanced care directive your family and health care professionals will know what your wishes are. Even if you can't express them yourself.
"If I am able, I wish to donate my organs" "I do not want to cardio pulmonary resuscitation commenced if someone finds me unconscious"