The need to plan end-of-life care

This week is Advance Care Planning Week, encouraging people of all ages to prepare their personal end-of-life care plans, to give certainty to themselves and their families.

Statistics show that while we prepare for death, we are actually far less prepared for dying.

More than half of Australians have a will (59 per cent) to determine how their property will be divided after they die, and 30 per cent have appointed a power of attorney to make financial decisions if they lose the capacity to do so.

But research published in the Internal Medicine Journal shows few Australians have drawn up plans for the treatment they want – or don’t want – at the end of life.

Even though contemplating our own end of life can be a bit confronting, thinking about it ahead of time and carrying out advance care planning can be beneficial for you, your loved ones and your healthcare team.

Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said it was an important issue for older Australians to address.

“Less than 15 per cent of Australians have recorded an advance care plan,” Mr Wyatt said.

“Advance care planning promotes dignity and care that is consistent with a person’s goals, values, beliefs and preferences and can help ensure they receive the right type of treatment at the right time.

“One-third of Australians will die before the age of 75, and 85 per cent of us pass away after a chronic illness, not a sudden event,” Mr Wyatt said.

“So, regardless of our age or current health status, talking about and preparing a plan sooner rather than later is important.”

Mr Wyatt also released Australia’s first Advance Care Planning in Aged Care guide, an updated resource to help aged care residents, their families and service providers better support individual choices in their health care.

In recognition of how difficult this topic is for some people and their families, Advance Care Planning Australia has developed a range of conversation starters, quizzes and activities to help get people talking.

Have you spoken about an advanced care plan with members of your family? How did you raise the topic? Was it an easy conversation?

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Written by Ben

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