April 5, 2017
Cantabrians are having more
Conversations that Count
More Cantabrians than ever before are having Conversations that Count and getting their Advanced Care Plan sorted.
Today is Conversations that Count Day (April 5, 2017), coordinated by the Advance Care Planning Cooperative and the Health Quality & Safety Commission.
Conversations that Count Day aims to raise awareness about advance care planning to encourage people to think about, talk about and plan for their future and end-of-life care.
David Meates, Canterbury DHB chief executive says that in Canterbury we’ve been doing a great job of this with more people now having an Advanced Care Plan in place.
“Advanced Care Planning is becoming an increasingly common part of the Canterbury healthcare landscape. To date, we have more than 1200 electronic Advance Care Plans in place for Cantabrians. This March was a record month with 100 Advanced Care Plans alone,'' Mr Meates says.
“A massive congratulations to General Practice teams who have stepped up efforts over the last few years and engaged with patients to get their plans sorted – particularly those who may be nearing end of life.”
The systems put in place to support the implementation and integration of Advanced Care Plans in Canterbury has continued to strengthen.
“Canterbury has been the first region to ensure people are making sure their Advanced Care Plan is put on their electronic medical record,'' he says.
“This makes it readily available to healthcare professionals to know what to do if the patient presents to any part of the health system towards the end of their life. For example, if you, or your loved one arrives critically unwell at the Emergency Department, medical staff will be able to access the electronic records and see that there’s an Advanced Care Plan in place – which means they will know what you, or what your loved one’s wishes are.”
More than half the people with an Advanced Care Plan are dying in their preferred place of death
“Essentially what that means is that these people have a plan in place for how they would like to live before they die. It’s not always an easy conversation to be had. We don’t naturally feel particularly comfortable talking about the end of our life but it’s something that happens to us all.
“Advance care planning is about exploring what matters to you when you near the end of your life. This information is shared with your loved ones and your health care team so treatment and care plans can support what matters to you.”
Having a plan is particularly important if you become too unwell to tell your loved ones and health care team what you want yourself. It’s an important gift for your loved ones as it can relieve the burden of them having to make decisions on your behalf.
Start a conversation that counts today. It’s easy to get an Advanced Care Plan in place. There are five simple steps:
1. Thinking about an Advanced Care Plan – what is important to you and gives your life meaning; is there any treatments or types of care you wouldn’t or would want; who would you want to make decisions on your behalf if you weren’t able to; if there was a choice, how and where would you like to spend your last few days?
2. Talking about it – who do you need to talk to and share this with: family/whanau; friends and loved ones; doctors, specialists and healthcare teams, enduring power of attorney?
3. Planning for – what do you need to write down – when you know what’s important and what you want others to know, it’s time to write it down so that anyone can refer to it when you can’t speak for yourself. Putting it in writing saves families/whanau and healthcare teams any worry if and when they have to make a decision on your behalf
4. Sharing – once you have written down what’s important it’s important to give a copy to your General Practice team, family/whanau, and your enduring power of attorney
5. Reviewing – it’s good to review your plan regularly to make sure nothing changes.