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Southern DHB is having ‘Conversations that Count’

Southern DHB is having ‘Conversations that Count’

Southern DHB is asking people to have a ‘Conversation that Counts’ on Thursday (16th April), the second national awareness day for advance care planning, to encourage people to think about, talk about and plan for their future health care.

Advance care planning gives everyone a chance to say what’s important to them. It helps people understand what the future might hold and to say what treatment they would and would not want. It helps people, their families and their healthcare teams plan for future and end of life care.

This makes it much easier for families and healthcare providers to know what the person would want - particularly if they can no longer speak for themselves.

The theme for this year’s ‘Conversations that Count’ day is ‘Morning tea with ACP.’

Chair of the Southern DHBs Advance Care Planning working group, Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, Helen Sawyer and working group member Respiratory Clinical Nurse Specialist , Debbie Hannah started raising awareness by having ‘morning tea’ with Acting Chief Executive, Lexie O’Shea to talk about advanced care planning.

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“I’ve had a conversation with my husband and mother about both my own and their future healthcare but not with my children. Having a discussion with Helen and Debbie makes me realise just how important planning, thinking about and discussing my future health care is,” said Ms O’Shea.

As well as morning tea with the Acting Chief Executive, Southern DHBs Advance Care Planning working group and ACP practitioners will be having morning tea with staff members in the staff café’s to talk about advanced care planning and answer any questions. There will be postcards on all the tables in the staff café’s to encourage staff to send a postcard to someone who matters to them to remind them to think about and plan their health treatment and end of life care in the future.

There will also be stands at Dunedin and Southland Hospitals for staff and members of the public to talk about advanced care planning.

This year an extended set of online and printed postcards have been designed to help encourage New Zealanders to have a “Conversation that Counts” with their friends and families on this important matter. To send someone you care about a postcard or order them online visit

“The day is all about raising awareness and encouraging people to think about, talk about and plan for their future health care,” said Chair of the Southern DHBs Advanced Care Planning working group Chair, Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, Helen Sawyer

“Most people have home and life insurance and wills organised. They think about what they might do when they retire or if they win lotto. Not many people find it easy to think or talk about what is important to them and what they would like or not like to happen if they could not talk for themselves.

Health professionals know that decisions are easier to make when previous discussions have been had and documented, however even in this group of people these conversations are not often had.

The message is to start a conversation with your partner, a mate, with the girls over lunch, or around the barbie. Talk about what’s important to you as you get older, how you want to live the rest of your life and your future healthcare needs.

For more information about advanced care planning go to or talk to your health professional.

Photo caption left to right: Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, Helen Sawyer, Respiratory Clinical Nurse Specialist, Debbie Hannah and Acting Chief Executive, Lexie O’Shea.


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