Talking about healthcare options and death and dying is hard. Most people won’t die suddenly, but will potentially have time to think, talk and plan for their future and end-of-life care.
Yet for many families this conversation doesn’t happen, or if it does, then only when someone is very unwell.
Advance care planning helps people think about and share what is important; it helps people think about and plan for future healthcare, what treatments they do and don’t want; and helps clarify how they want to be cared for as they approach the end of their lives.
This Saturday (16 April) is the third annual “Conversations that Count” day – a day that is an opportunity for healthcare workers to consider having conversations with people about ‘what really matters to them.’
ACP helps in the provision of quality healthcare and is becoming increasingly important, due to the enhanced recognition of informed and shared decision-making and the growing range of health treatment options available.
The value of ACP is that it gives the person the opportunity to understand and express their preferences for current and likely future health treatment and care options available to them.
MidCentral District Health Board healthcare professionals, and providers working with older populations and long term conditions, are being trained in initiating ACP conversations so they are capable of asking about, and understanding, what matters most to the person, and respecting their health treatment options and end-of-life wishes.
MDHB has developed an advance care planning pathway (as part of Map of Medicine) aiming to promote a consistent approach to ACP and provide guidance to healthcare providers with initiating ACP conversations. The pathway is based on Ministry of Health guidelines and provides easy access to resources for patients, carers and providers.
Maybe it is time to consider having conversations that count with your loved ones, and healthcare workers to let them know what you would like, and how you want to be cared for, as you approach the end of your life.
There are posters up at Health on Main, Palmerston North Public Library and in the foyer at Palmerston North Hospital, as well as postcards encouraging people to start the conversation.
There are excellent (free) resources for health workers at www.advancecareplanning.org.nz
Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945