Cheryl Cameron is a retired filmmaker. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 12 years ago but hasn’t let that slow her down.
Cheryl co-teaches a tango class for people with neurodegenerative disorders. It keeps her physically and mentally fit and is also lots of fun.
She heard about advance care planning when she had an unexpected admission to hospital.
‘I realised then that I didn’t have to agree to all of the treatments on offer.’
The Health Quality & Safety Commission is leading a five-year advance care planning strategy in partnership with district health boards (DHBs). Its vision is to ‘empower New Zealanders to participate in their future care’.
‘An advance care plan tells your loved ones and health care teams about the treatment and care you want – or don’t want – so treatment plans can support what is important to you,’ says Ria Earp, chair of the Commission’s Te Rōpū Māori (Māori advisory group).
‘When a patient has an advance care plan, knowing their values and what is important to them can make their treatment approach clearer and easier to follow. It is very important that we maintain a patient’s integrity and mana when we make plans for their future.’
Advance care planning emphasises the value of having open and courageous conversations early. That might include who you want with you when you are very ill, how much treatment you would like, types of treatment you would prefer not to have and who can make decisions on your behalf if you’re not able to.
This makes it easier for everyone to know what matters to you – especially if you can no longer speak for yourself.
Doing her advance care plan has given Cheryl peace of mind.
‘My family know what I want if they have to make difficult decisions in the future.’
Cheryl’s story is part of a national campaign, Kia kōrero | Let’s talk advance care planning, developed by the Commission in association with DHBs.
This year the campaign will run in the lead up to Advance Care Planning Day on Friday 3 April 2020.
For more information visit: www.myacp.org.nz.