Introduction to Advance Care Planning

Why …
do Advance Care Planning?

Serious illness or injury can happen to anyone of us, at any time. If a serious illness or injury happened to you…

  • Who would you want to make health-care decisions for you, if you couldn’t speak for yourself?
  • What health-care decisions would you want them to make for you?

Advance Care Planning helps you and your family and friends prepare for health-care and personal care decisions, so you receive care aligned with your wishes.

Having an Advance Care Plan means you’re ready in case something happens to you.

You may live your whole life without any health issues and never need to use this information. But what if you do encounter health care challenges?

  • know yourself better and understand what’s important to you
  • decide on the health care that’s right for you
  • decide who could make decisions for you
  • prepare you to make difficult health-care decisions when needed
  • get the care that is right for you
  • It lets those who might be involved in your care know what you would (or would not) want
  • It can reduce conflict among your family and friends
  • It helps your decision maker communicate better with your health-care providers
  • It helps your substitute decision maker to feel less stressed about the decisions they need to make for you, and be reassured they are making the right ones
  • know who they should talk to when health-care decisions need to be made, and you can’t make them
  • know that what’s important to you is reflected in your health-care decisions, so they can support and carry out those decisions
  • if there is an emergency, and decisions need to be made quickly, it reduces conflict or indecision, and the health-care providers are reassured that they are treating you according to your wishes

Who …
should do Advance Care Planning?

In a word… everyone! All adults should do Advance Care Planning.

It’s especially important to do Advance Care Planning as early as possible if:

  • your family don’t know what matters most to you and the type of care you would or would not want
  • your family have different views or beliefs from your own
  • you think your family wouldn’t support your health-care choices
  • you have a serious illness, such as heart disease, cancer, advanced kidney disease, dementia

When …
should you start Advance Care Planning?

Think about it this way: It’s never too early until it’s too late. In other words, the sooner you start your Advance Care Planning, the better.

Remember, Advance Care Planning is not a one-time thing

Review your Advance Care Plan regularly, and keep your family, friends and substitute decision maker informed of any changes or updates. In particular, it’s important to review your Advance Care Plan if you experience changes in health or a significant life event.

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