Taking charge of future healthcare with Advance Care Planning

27 February 2017

A group of Bell Block residents are being encouraged to start a conversation about planning for their future and end of life care, thanks to a new Advance Care Planning (ACP) campaign launched by Taranaki DHB.

Claudia Matthews, Taranaki DHB ACP Facilitator said, “Thinking and talking about the future and end of life care isn’t easy, but it’s important. It gives individuals a way to ensure personal beliefs and values are talked about and incorporated into plans for any future healthcare they may require, including end-of-life care. Plans are shared with the individual’s loved ones and their healthcare team so future treatment and care plans can support what matters to them.”

Mrs Matthews added, “Most people (85%) die after chronic illness not a sudden event, so the best time to start thinking and talking about ACP is before they get seriously ill. It also helps to gain a better understanding of a person’s current and likely future health, and the treatment and care options available especially if they are unable to speak for themselves.”

Taranaki DHB’s campaign aims to increase knowledge, awareness and the uptake of ACP among healthcare professionals and their patients in the Taranaki region.

After hearing of the campaign, Bell Block’s ‘Move it or Lose It’ exercise class invited Mrs Matthews to attend their exercise sessions to talk about ACP and assist participants in completing their own plans.

ACP is voluntary and completing an Advance Care Plan is a positive and proactive step for the ‘Move It or Lose It’ group members. “We are encouraging people in the community to complete ACPs while they are well and able to participate in the discussion”, Mrs Matthews added.

ACP recognises the significance of patient, family/whānau and carer involvement in medical decisions. Everybody in the ’Move It or Lose It’ group was encouraged to take their Advanced Care Plan’s home to discuss it with the important people in their lives.

“The key is to get people talking openly about ACP with those who matter to them. It’s about normalising the conversation and ensuring those supporting the individual are aware of the plan, if they are ever in a position where they can’t speak for themselves,” said Mrs Matthews.

Taranaki DHB will be holding an ACP Awareness Week from April 3 – 7 (coinciding with Conversations that Count Day on April 5), where staff will be available to discuss ACP with hospital visitors throughout the week. For more information about ACP, visit www.advancecareplanning.org.nz/.

For more information please call

Greer Lean
Communications Advisor
027 801 9084

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