What is Advance Care Planning?
Advance Care Planning is a process that helps you to plan for future medical care. This process involves thinking about your values and beliefs and your wishes about what medical care you would like to have if you cannot make your own decisions.
An important part of the planning process is to discuss your wishes with your family and other people who are close to you, as well as talking to your General Practitioner or other health professionals about any medical conditions you have.
You may also choose to write down your wishes in an Advance Care Directive, sometimes called a ‘Living Will’.
Importance of Advance Care Planning
Advance Care Planning is a way to make sure that people who are involved in your life understand your wishes about medical treatment and care. This will help to guide them if you become seriously ill or injured and cannot make your own decisions about medical care. Like making a Will or appointing an Enduring Guardian, Advance Care Planning is an important part of planning ahead.
You can start to talk about Advance Care Planning anytime, as part of general discussions about your health or medical care. Many people start to think about Advance Care Planning because they have health problems or a serious illness which will get worse over time. However, Advance Care Planning can also guide families and health professionals if you have an unexpected accident or illness.
Advance Care Planning is a process that occurs over time, and may be reviewed when your situation changes. You must have capacity to make an Advance Care Directive or appoint an Enduring Guardian to make future decisions about your health care, so it is important to start these processes while you can make your own decisions.