Advance care planning

An important part of healthy ageing is planning for the future, ensuring your health care preferences, and the preferences of the person you care for, are known and respected when or if the time comes.

Advance care planning is an important part of planning for the future, particularly for people who are older and frail, or people who have a chronic illness, disease, and early cognitive impairment, or are approaching their end of life. 

When it comes to advance care planning, being informed about options that are available to you can help make your preparations and decisions easier. 

What does advance care planning involve?

There are two parts to advance care planning:

1.     Appointing someone to make decisions on your behalf, or on the behalf of the person you care for. You may wish to inform yourself about options to appoint an enduring guarding or enduring power of attorney

2.     Completing an Advance Care Directive

It is preferable that Advance Care Directives are planned and developed when you’re healthy, before there is an urgent need for a plan. This helps relieve the stress on your family and friends, and gives you peace of mind knowing that your health care preferences will be known when or if the time comes.

You can find helpful information and resources, including the Advance Care Directive (NSW) form and the Appointment of Enduring Guardian (NSW) on the Advance Care Planning Australia website.

Although there are a number of useful templates available, there is no official format in which an Advanced Care Directive needs to be written. A typed or hand written letter is also acceptable but using a template can help you structure your wishes and understand the possible choices you will need to make. 

Where to store your Advance Care Directive

There is no official place to registed an Advance Care Directive in NSW, however, it is important that your family, carer or supporter has access to it if or when it is required. An Advance Care Directive can be uploaded to your My Health Record, ensuring your healthcare preferences are easily accessible when needed. You may also wish to include your Advance Care Directive in your will or keep a copy (paper or electronic) of it in a place that can be accessed by your carer, family or supporter.

Find more information about uploading your advance care plan to My Health Record

How to start the conversation

It is a difficult conversation to have, but it is an important one. Advance Care Planning Australia has shared some conversation starters to help you speak to your family, friends and GP about your advance care plan. It could be as simple as reflecting on what you value in life to spark the conversation. 
Visit www.advancecareplanning.org.au to find useful information, conversation starters and resources to support you in your advance care planning. 

Helpful organisations

Advance Care Planning Australia provides a range of resources and information for individuals, family, friends, carers and for health care professionals about advance care planning. On their website you will find specific resources for people living in NSW. 

CareSearch provides easy to understand information on planning for the future when living with a serious illness. Connecting patients, carers and their families with trustworthy resources, their website includes information on:

• Advance Care Planning

• Funerals

• Wills

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Carers NSW acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land, Elders past and present and all Aboriginal people.