Kiwis encouraged to think about end-of-life care

Source: Health Quality and Safety Commission

HQSC – Advance Care Planning. Photo by Mark Coote/markcoote.com

Kiwis are being encouraged to think about, talk about and share what matters to them for their end-of-life care.

Thursday 5 April is Advance Care Planning Day. An advance care plan can set out your wants and hopes for your end-of-life care based on:

– your personal views and values

– a better understanding of your current and likely future health

– the treatment and care options available to you.

Arthur Te Anini first heard about advance care planning at a ‘Better Breathing’ rehabilitation programme for his emphysema.

‘I was getting worried because of my health and I thought if I keel over, the family will have to pick up the pieces and they won’t know what to do. I thought it was a great idea to create an advance care plan so they knew what I wished for myself.’

Arthur is now an advocate for the advance care planning programme. ‘After completing my plan I felt a peace of mind and that now it was time to get on with living.’

Dr Barry Snow, advance care planning clinical spokesperson, says having an advance care plan is particularly important if you become too unwell to tell your loved ones and health care team what you want yourself.

‘Having an advance care plan will help you and those around you understand what is important to you and what treatment and care you would like. It focuses on and involves both you and the health care professionals responsible for your care. It may also involve your whānau/family or others close to you, if you wish.’

Dr Snow encourages kiwis to talk to those close to them about what type of care they would like towards the end of their life.

‘Talk to your family/whānau and GP or other health care professionals about the medical choices you might have in the future. Discussing end-of-life can make it easier to understand and less frightening. We can accept it as something that happens to us all.’

Advance care plans can be completed online at www.advancecareplanning.org.nz, or a plan template can be downloaded to complete later. There are also a number of free resources to help you think about and prepare your advance care plan.’

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