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Southerners encouraged to talk about advance care planning

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Southern DHB and WellSouth are getting behind the Health Safety and Quality Commissions Kia kōrero Let’s talk advance care planning campaign and encouraging patients, staff and southern residents to understand what advance care planning is, and to talk about their wishes for their future health care with their whānau, doctors and caregivers.

Advance Care Planning 2020

WellSouth Shared Care Plan Coordinator Viv Williams

An advance care plan (ACP) records what is important to an individual and their wants and hopes for their end-of-life care. This can be based on a person’s values and personal views, and how they would like those caring for them to look after their spiritual, cultural and emotional needs.

Southern DHB Medical Director Strategy, Primary and Community, Dr Hywel Lloyd urges everyone whatever stage they are in their adult life to have a conversation about what matters to them.

Dr Lloyd, who is also a GP says talking about your wants and hopes for your end of life care can never come too early.

“It’s really important to record your personal views and values so those around you and medical professionals have a better understanding of what is important to you and what care and treatment you would like should you become unable to speak for yourself. Have the conversation with your family/whanau and also with your health professionals, especially your GP.”

Well South Shared Care Plan Coordinator Viv Williams agrees, encouraging everyone to make an ACP however fit and well they are and regardless of age.  She says although she found doing her own ACP, as a healthy person, an emotional experience, it allowed her to think about her care should he not be able to speak for herself and what she would like to happen when she dies.

“I have a strong views about cremation versus burial, for example. This is important information for my children to be aware of and having that information written down, along with my other wishes about my care, is some consolation during their mourning period – knowing their mother’s wishes are upheld after her death.”

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.