Having early conversations about values and preferences around future health decisions can create better outcomes not only for clients, but for their families and carers.
National Advance Care Planning Week, from 16-22 April, is encouraging families to start conversations that will help inform care. The theme is “Plan for tomorrow, live for today.’
Advance Care Planning is the process of thinking about, discussing, planning and documenting values, beliefs and health care preferences for the future, at a time when the person is unable to voice their decisions/wishes. Research shows families of people who have been through the Advance Care Planning process experience less anxiety and depression and greater satisfaction with care services.
Bolton Clarke recognises the importance of Advance Care Planning and was a collaborative partner in a 16-month project led by the North Western Primary Health Network as part of the Victorian Advance Care Planning Strategy 2014-2018. From the project grew the development of strategies and processes to support and enhance Advance care Planning, initially throughout Bolton Clarke Melbourne.
The Victorian Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 came into effect in March 2018 and includes Advance Care Directives which may incorporate an instructional directive including consenting to or refusal of future medical treatments, and/or a values directive that documents more general statements about a person’s values, preferences and what is important to them.
The Act also allows for the appointment of a medical decision-maker with authority to make medical treatment decisions on behalf of the person if they are unable to make decisions in the future.
Families can find out more about the Advance Care Planning processes in their state, and supporting resources, at https://www.advancecareplanning.org.au/resources/advance-care-planning-for-your-state-territory