Evelyn holding her elderly family members' hand. Photo credit: Frances Wegener
When it is time to go, having a plan allows loved ones to focus on what’s really important.
Today is Advance Care Plan (ACP) day.
An Advance Care Plan tells your loved ones and health care teams about the treatment and care you want at the end of your life, so treatment plans can support what is important to you.
ACP Advocate, Evelyn Cross encourages us to start the conservations with whānau about plans and wishes for future healthcare and end-of-life care.
Ms Cross has experienced the benefit of having an ACP and says people should not shy away from talking about the topic.
“When an elderly family member fell very ill last year, the medical team told us we should call the family, it didn’t look like she would survive. It was a very sad time for our family but looking back now, I know that the ACP took away a lot of stress on me and my family. Our elderly family member actually pulled through and has fully recovered since.
“It was good to have this plan all sorted before she became ill so there were no disagreements between family members because we all respected her wishes and what she wanted.
“Nobody had to say they didn’t agree with that or this shouldn’t happen - it was just clear. It took a huge burden off us as a family.”
Ms Cross said the Advance Care Plan was easy to complete and since that experience, she recommends that everyone has an ACP. “It gives you and your family a guideline for future healthcare and the way you want to go.”
Advance Care Planning can be an awkward topic for many, however, it is one of those conversations that can save unnecessary stress and conflict at a difficult time.
If you would like to find out more about Advance Care Planning, visit: www.hauoratairawhiti.org.nz/advance-care-planning(external link) or phone (06) 889 0295.