Encourage patients to make end of life care plans

This week is National Advance Care Planning Week, and the AMA encouraged all Australians to use it to make plans and discuss with loved ones the care you want at the end of your life. 

Dr Moy, an ambassador for Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA), said that having a conversation with your GP can be a good place to start. 

“Your GP, in particular, can assist with advance care planning by discussing your current and possible future health situations, helping to clearly articulate preferences and regularly reviewing your advance care plan with you,” Dr Moy said. 

“If you already have an advance care plan, fantastic - use National Advance Care Planning Week to revisit and update it. and don’t forget to tell your GP and substitute decision-makers of any changes you make and where to find it too.” 

He said that thinking about a time when you can no longer speak for yourself can be very confronting but that’s why it’s important to start having these challenging conversations now. 

“Most of us expect to have a say in our medical treatment, however a sudden event or gradual health decline can leave people without a voice or a choice, if no plan is in place,” he said. 

"We know about a third of us will end up unable to make our own end-of-life medical decisions but less than 15 per cent of Australians have an advance care directive. 

“This means millions of Australians are unaware they have given up their ability to control their own destiny should they lose decision-making capacity. 

“This leaves their loved ones with the burden of making heart-breaking decisions blindly. No family should have to go through that.” 

You can find more information here. 

The AMA’s Position Statement on End of Life Care and Advance Care Planning 2014 is here.

Related topics