Advanced Care Planning: Directive

Lacking a coherent view of how people might live successfully all the way to their very end, we have allowed our fates to be controlled by the imperatives of medicine, technology, and strangers.

Dr. Atul Gawande, Being Mortal

Advanced care planning, is smart thinking because it plans for your future if you become unable to communicate your wishes. The formal document for advanced care planning is otherwise known as a Living Will, Advanced Care Directive, or Advanced Care Plan.

It is important to think about the “what if’s” of your medical treatment under a hypothetical situation of terminal, incurable and irreversible illness, whilst you are healthy.  Specifically, you need to think about the kinds of medical treatment you would like to receive, or abstain from when you are no longer able to make the decision yourself.

This rap video is the best thing I have ever seen. It captures precisely the reasons why we need to talk about this now. It’s taken from http://zdoggmd.com/aint-the-way-to-die/

In addition I highly recommend you read my blog on this here or just watch this video right now.

“To Die Well” by Sidney Wanzer, M.D and Jospeh Glenmullen, M.D is a fantastic guide to understanding in details your rights and options.

(Click on the image to be taken to the Amazon.com listing)

Each state of Australia has different requirements for the documentation as well as different laws.  Make sure you are aware of the requirements of your own state.  If you live in a regional or rural area, and the nearest major hospital is interstate, you will need to be aware of the regulations of the state in which you will be treated in.

A copy of your Advanced Care Plan should be filed with your will, and a copy given to your legal representative and power of attorney, and doctor(s).  You should also provide a copy to your family members so that they understand your wishes, as it will be them who liaise with your medical team. It is also recommended that should you be hospitalized, placed in a nursing home or a hospice, that this document is placed with your medical chart.

Your family or person responsible for dealing with your health must continually ensure that medical staffs respect your wishes. It is not that they are not intelligent, more that with the ever increasing demands on these staff, they will act in accordance with routine, and may unconsciously act conversely to your wishes.   It is also wise to carry a card in your wallet that states you have an advanced care directive, and where it can be located.
Helpful websites include: