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Advanced Care Planning – Why is it important?

Advanced Care Planning is about planning ahead for your future healthcare needs, in the event that you may not be in a position to make choices for yourself. This may happen at the end of your life or if you become seriously ill or injured.

It isn’t an easy conversation to have, but it’s an important one, and it’s an essential one if you want your family and friends to be able to carry out your care in the way you want. Once you’ve decided how you’d like to be cared for in the future, you can formally document this information in an Advanced Care Directive and appoint a substitute decision maker who will look after your care needs.

You’ll have peace of mind knowing you have arranged your future care at the end of your life or should anything else happen. You’ll know that you’ll be cared for as if you were making all your own decisions at this time.

This 2-minute video by Advanced Care Planning Australia describes your choices and options – “Be open, be ready, be heard.”

Why is advanced care planning important?

Planning ahead for your healthcare in the event you can no longer make decisions on your behalf benefits everyone - you, your family, your carers and the health professionals involved in your care.

  • Everyone will be on the same page when it comes to your care, delivering the care that you want and how you want it.
  • Your family and friends have far less stress as you have planned ahead and made your own decisions, freeing them up to care for you the way you want.
  • The details of end of life care have already been arranged and you’ll have peace of mind knowing you are prepared.
  • Healthcare professionals can come to agreement much more efficiently, reducing the risk of unwanted or unnecessary treatments.

Start the conversation with family, friends and healthcare professionals

Talking about advanced care planning is an important conversation to have. Time and time again we have seen families frustrated by having to make medical decisions on behalf of their loved one, not really knowing whether their loved one would want that approach or not. This is very stressful on families who are already feeling grief about what’s happening.

Therefore, the conversation is an important one to have with your family, and if they’re not quite ready you can also have the first chat with your GP or other health professional.

Advanced Care Planning Australia have a video on the subject which you may like to watch with your family to help them understand the importance of addressing your future care.

Advanced care planning resources

To help you with advanced care planning, we’ve listed resources below to help get you started.

Free Webinars

Advanced Care Planning Australia have free webinars to help you understand what’s involved in arranging future care and what you need to prepare. You’ll also find webinars addressing the specific needs of people with cancer or dementia.

Visit for more information.

Free Advanced Care Plan and Advanced Care Directive

You can download Advanced Care Plan and Advanced Care Directive forms specific to South Australia here.

An Advanced Care Plan can become a legally binding Advanced Care Directive which allows you to:

  • Confirm instructions for your future medical treatment – specifically for treatment you refuse and accept.
  • Write down your preferences and values for medical treatments and care approach.
  • Appoint a substitute decision maker who will make healthcare decisions on your behalf.

Who is advanced care planning for?

Advanced care planning is for everyone who wants to be cared for in their way if the need ever arises. You may not ever need to use an advanced care plan, but it will give you peace of mind to know it is in place.

Your Advance Care Directive can contain your future health care decisions, end of life care wishes, residential or living arrangements and any other personal matters you want to implement if you are no longer able to make these decisions yourself.

Everyone should consider an advance care plan, regardless of your age or health. You do not have to have a terminal illness to start talking about your wishes. Like making a will, advance care planning may simply be a part of planning for the future.

It’s also wise to have it in place before a situation becomes urgent and medical decisions are taken out of your control. An advanced care plan is especially important if:

  • You have a chronic illness
  • You have multiple diseases
  • You have some cognitive impairment
  • You are approaching the end of your life

Contact St Louis for more information about Advanced Care Planning

At St Louis Aged Care, we embrace cultural diversity and the spiritual or religious needs for the future care of our residents and home care clients. With more than 75 years of looking after older South Australians, we’ve seen many changes in aged care and our longevity is based upon the quality care we provide, underpinned by our four pillars of care: dignity, respect, choice and fairness. These values are the foundation for everything that we do on a daily basis, from the very first day we start caring for a person right through to their end of life.

We’re here to help. Phone us on 08 8332 0950 and have a chat with us about your home care package or the importance of adding an Advanced Care Plan to your consumer support plan. Or if you are after specific information on Advance Care Planning you can visit Advanced Care Planning Australia for more information.