Planning for what people see as the ‘worst case’ scenario or talking about death and dying are still conversations some may find uncomfortable. But like it or not, there is no changing the fact that we are going to die which makes it even more important to destigmatise these important discussions and help support everyone to plan for their future health and care needs.
This week marks Advance Care Planning Week, and as only 20 per cent of Queenslanders have an Advance Care Plan, it’s a timely reminder of the important role clinicians play in supporting those they care for to document their plans.
Dr Leyton Miller from Metro South Health reiterated that these important conversations are not something we have to fear.
“We often need to have difficult conversations with patients about a whole range of things, so it makes sense that we add advance care planning into the mix,” Leyton said.
“None of us know what is around the corner, but patients who share and document their wishes with care providers and their family take the stress out of the process for everybody but particularly their loved ones, should their health deteriorate.”
Leyton said that as healthcare providers, we were in a privileged position to start the conversation, so it was critical we had the skills and confidence to support patients through the advance care planning process.
“Queensland Health have developed a six-step process for clinicians which supports not only the initial discussion, but embeds reviewing and updating the plan in future discussion.”
In addition, the Statewide Office of Advance Care Planning have developed a suite of resources for both consumers and health professionals to support their conversations. They’re also running a series of Lunchbox sessions this week to help empower our clinical workforce to confidently have these conversations.