Tasmanians urged to have end-of-life conversations during
National Advance Care Planning Week
During National Advance Care Planning Week, 20 – 26 March, Acting CEO of Palliative Care Tasmania Venéy Hiller is urging Tasmanians to have their advance care planning documents in place for both themselves and their families.
Ms Hiller an Advance Care Planning Australia advocate knows the importance of honest and open discussions – because she’s had them. The conversations she had with her father-in-law in the months before his dementia took over, formed an invaluable blueprint for her family and for his care.
Alarmingly, only 14 per cent of older people have an advance care directive and half of Australians are not able to make end-of-life medical decisions.
If you found yourself suddenly too ill to make treatment decisions, who would make those decisions on your behalf – and would they know what you wanted?
Ms Hiller said an advance care plan allowed a person to control the narrative and to take time to really consider what was important to them and their loved ones. She explained that having conversations about the final stages of life and death wasn’t about giving up hope, rather, it was about planning for the inevitable.
“Our family like many others didn’t want to get it wrong or live wondering if we’d got it right, so we asked, he answered, and we wrote it down,” she said.
“I am forever grateful that we did because, in the heightened emotions, in the passing of time and the way in which this life limiting condition has progressed, we would have forgotten or perhaps even disagreed. We know what he wants, we take comfort in that.”
“Those conversations that we had over cups of tea and glasses of wine were at times awkward; they were sad and confronting but there were a lot of laughs too. They led to countless opportunities to learn more about him and to say, ‘I love you’.”
Ms Hiller, explained that taking charge of your advance care plan, or having the conversation, was an act of love.
“We rarely worry about things that make us uncomfortable if it protects the ones we love. An advance care plan or a conversation will do that. The reality is, not talking about the final stages of life and death won’t stop it from happening. What it will do is leave those you love most with the heavy burden of big decisions and fear of making the wrong ones.”
The time is now to talk about what matters most to you.
National Advance Care Planning Week is the perfect time to talk to those closest to you about what is most important to you in your future health care. Write an advance care directive that can become a powerful statement about who you are, how you want to live and die, and what you value most about living.
“Palliative Care Tasmania has a number of events and opportunities for the community to discuss Advance Care Planning during this coming week, they include community events across Tasmania including King Island.
A free webinar about Advance Care Planning and the new Tasmanian Advance Care Directive will be held on Wednesday 22nd Mar 2023, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm. To book your place for this information session visit www.pallcaretas.org.au or call
03 6231 2799”.
For free advice or to request a printed starter pack, call the National Advance Care Planning Support Service on 1300 208 582 from 9am – 5pm (AEST/AEDT) Monday to Friday.
Visit acpweek.org.au to access a free email starter pack or visit www.pallcaretas.org.au/ACP for and more information.