Advance Personal Planning is your voice

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It is National Advance Care Planning Week (22 - 26 March) and Territory Palliative Care is encouraging Territorians to learn more about advance personal planning.

Advance personal planning gives people the opportunity to plan for what you do, or don’t, want if you become unable to make or communicate your own preferences.

Territory Palliative Care Occupational Therapist Julie Rankin from the Top End Health Service said advance personal planning was an on-going process of shared planning for current and future health care.

“Advance personal planning helps to ensure that a person’s preferences, beliefs and values about health care are known and respected if they are too unwell to speak for themselves. It also benefits those who are close to them,” said Ms Rankin.

“Research has shown that families of people who have done advance personal planning have less anxiety and stress when asked to make important healthcare decisions for other people”.

Advance personal planning is known to improve end-of-life care, and person and family satisfaction with care.

“Everyone should consider advance personal planning, regardless of their age or health. It can be particularly important to individuals such as those with an advanced chronic illness, a life limiting illness, are aged over 55 years or at risk of losing competence,” Ms Rankin says.

Advance personal planning conversations should occur as part of a person’s ongoing health care plan.

Advance Personal Planning can be achieved by:

  • Choosing a substitute decision-maker: someone you trust to speak for you if you became very sick and couldn’t speak for yourself.
  • Talk about your values, beliefs and preferences with your substitute decision-maker and other people involved in your care such as family, friends, carers and doctors.
  • Write your preferences and/or appoint your substitute decision-maker using the recommended Advance Care Directive documents via your GP or support from other health professionals.
  • Share your Advance Care Directive documentation with your substitute decision-maker, family, friends, carers and doctors.
  • Upload your completed documents to your My Health Record.
  • Review your plan regularly and update it as needed.

“Advance Personal planning can give people a voice, ensuring they remain in the driver’s seat, regardless of what the future brings.”

Further information on advance personal planning is available here

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