30 Mar 2020 | Advance Care Planning
Aotearoa is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an unsettling time, and it is natural for people to be anxious. However, it is also an opportunity for people to plan for a scenario where they may become suddenly unwell. They can do this by thinking about what matters most to them if they became unwell, choosing the person they want to make decisions if they are not able to speak for themselves and, if possible, their preferred medical treatment.
Research shows people who have considered these options are less likely to have depression even though they are facing major health challenges. It also shows that families and whānau of people who have done an advance care plan have less anxiety and stress and are more satisfied with the care their loved ones receive.
We know that older New Zealanders are most at risk of serious illness as a result of COVID-19, particularly those with existing conditions such as lung and heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
For some people, planning now – whether or not your plan is needed – may offer a sense of control and reduce anxiety.
Things COVID-19 might bring up for you:
If you don’t have a plan, we recommend starting a conversation with your family, being clear about what you would want. These conversations can be challenging, but they are not harder than having the conversation in the emergency room with a loved one unable to speak. It is also a good time to clarify who is best placed to make your medical treatment decisions if you were to become suddenly unwell.
Having an advance care plan is a gift you can give your family to help support decisions about your health care, if you are not able to.
You can start your advance care plan here.