7 Apr 2016
On 16 April, New Zealand ‘Conversations that Count Day’ is being held – a national day to raise awareness about advance care planning.
Advance care planning is for everyone. It is particularly important for people who have life-limiting illnesses and where starting to plan now will help them and their families/whānau in the future.
Talking about death and dying is hard. Most of us will not die suddenly. We all potentially have lots of time to think, talk and plan for our future and end of life care. Yet for most families this conversation does not happen, or if it does, it’s only when someone is very unwell.
Many people don’t spend their last weeks and months doing what they value in a place they call home. They are undergoing treatments they would not have chosen given the choice, away from their homes in a hospital or high-care facility, isolated from their families by visiting hours or distance. Many don’t get to say what they want to the important people in their lives.
Advance care planning helps us think about and share what is important, plan what treatments we do and don’t want and clarify how we want to be cared for as we approach the end of our lives.
All health care professionals are encouraged to support the day, to start having conversations with their patients and families/whānau. Ask your patients what is important to them. Ask them what this will mean when they approach the end of their life.
Visit the website www.conversationsthatcount.org.nz to find out more, download our poster or email one of our postcards to someone you care about to help to get the ball rolling.
To find out more about advance care planning, access our e-Learning modules or watch the film Living for Today, Planning for Tomorrow, at www.advancecareplanning.org.nz.