Advance Care Planning Week: what is your organisation doing?

Residential and home care providers are encouraged to take part in this year’s Advance Care Planning Week which runs from 1-5 April.

The week, organised by Advance Care Planning Australia, aims to encourage all Australians to speak up about their future healthcare preferences and make sure their voice is heard and respected.

Linda Nolte, Program Director of Advance Care Planning Australia said that by focusing attention on advance care planning, home and residential care providers have a great opportunity to raise health planning with clients, residents and families.

“Advance care planning can be difficult to navigate for older Australians and their families, particularly in the context of declining health or diminished mental capacity. We have evidence that there are pockets of excellence across Australia, where aged care providers are implementing robust processes, governance and policies to support advance care planning,” Ms Nolte said.

 “Home carers are at the frontline of care for older Australians in the community. Accordingly they play an important role in supporting individuals to make the best choices for their care.”

“Home carers invariably want what’s best for their clients, but they need support to start advance care planning conversations and help their clients and families navigate the complexities and options around often challenging health conditions.

“We encourage home carers to reach out to Advance Care Planning Australia to access a range of free resources and advice for themselves and their clients, and to be aware that we can support them with free online training to build their skills and confidence in advance care planning.”

Residential care providers are encouraged to host their own events and register them with Advance Care Planning Australia as part of the week.

“We currently have around 150 registered events for National Advance Care Planning Week. Many of these are in aged care facilities and that they are using this opportunity to engage staff, residents and their families,” Ms Nolte said.

Ms Nolte said there is an important role for aged care providers to help improve the quality of advance care planning by ensuring:

  • Residents have the opportunity to participate in the process of advance care planning (ACP)
  • Advance Care Directives (ACDs) are regularly reviewed and updated
  • ACDs are accessible when required
  • there is organisational support/leadership for ACP
  • staff are trained in ACP and it is integrated into care and culture.

Providers can access free online training and a guide to help with implementation of advance care planning processes, or contact Advance Care Planning Australia directly for additional support and advice. 

“Ultimately access to high quality advance care planning in aged care is about helping older Australians live with dignity and on their own terms. It is what we would want for ourselves and those closest to us,” Ms Nolte said.

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