Advance Care Planning
If you ever became seriously ill or had a serious illness, and were unlikely to recover, what sort of medical care would you want?
An Advance Care Directive (ACD) is a written document that reflects your wishes for your future health care and it can make it easier for your family or carer to make decisions about your care. You can also identify the person you would like to make your medical decisions if for any reason you are unable to communicate your wishes to health care staff. This person is known as your “person responsible”
What resources are available to help with advance care planning?
The most important thing is having the conversation! The Values Statement is a good place to start the discussion around advance care planning. These questions will help you to identify your values and preferences with the person responsible and with your loved ones so that everyone is clear about what is most important to you.
The Advance Care Planning for End of Life brochure provides further information for you to consider, which you can also discuss with your GP or health care provider.
There are many templates available for writing your advance care directive and there is no one ‘correct’ form. These are some examples of an advance care directive that you can use, otherwise, you can visit the websites listed below which will have more information and examples.
- Advance Care Directive (for a person capable of making medical decisions)
- Advance Care Directive (for a person who does not have legal capacity to make decisions about their care)
- Let Me Decide (Health and personal care directive)
Appointing ‘person responsible’ or an ‘Enduring Guardian’
The person who makes heath care decisions for you if you can’t do this for yourself is your ‘person responsible’ and is chosen by you. You can identify this person and discuss with them your wishes for future health care. Alternatively, you can appoint someone as your Enduring Guardian. They will be able to make personal, health and/or lifestyle decisions once you lose the capacity to make those decisions for yourself. For further information on appointing a person responsible or enduring guardianship visit:
General Practitioners and advance care planning
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) believes that advance care planning should be incorporated into routine general practice. GPs develop on-going and trusted relationships with their patients and are well placed to initiate and promote advance care planning. The RACGP Position Statement on advance care planning can be found here or visit the RACGP Advance Care Planning page along with further resources to support the inclusion of advance care planning in routine practice.
Patients: Make sure you book extra time for your appointment if you want to discuss advance care planning with your GP. Make sure you also speak with any other health care providers you routinely see before and after writing your advance care plan
Ambulance Service of New South Wales: Authorised Palliative Care Plan
The Ambulance Authorised Palliative Care Plan has been developed to support adult patients under the care of their GP or treating clinician to remain at home or in a facility for the length of their care or be transported to another facility other than a hospital emergency department. The treating medical clinician will provide authorisation for care outside of normal Ambulance practice including pre-authorised medications and procedures. The authorised care plan is logged electronically with Ambulance NSW and the information on the plan becomes available to the paramedics if they are called to the patient’s place of residence. This system helps to ensure the wishes of palliative care patients are respected at the end of life.
A copy of the NSW Ambulance Authorised Adult Palliative Care Plan can be found in the resources section below. A copy of the General Practitioner Information Kit can be found there also.
Also available in the resources below is the Paramedic Drug listing, the Authorised Care Plan and Paediatric Palliative Care Plan. Further information on any of these resources can be obtained from Ambulance NSW on 02 9779 3821
Local services you can contact for further information
- Your regular GP
- Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network
- Manager of your Residential Aged Care Facility
- Local Palliative Care Service
- Local area health service