Advance Care Planning (ACP) in the Waikato

The Waikato District Health Board and health providers in the region would like everyone to consider completing an Advance Care Plan. 

What matters to you?

Advanced Care PlanningAn Advance Care Plan is a process of thinking about, talking about and writing down a plan for future health care and end of life care.

It helps to make sure that your needs and wishes are known, and your personal beliefs and values are respected about your own future health care decisions.

It helps guide doctors and other health professionals in their decisions about treatment if you become too sick to speak for yourself or are incapable of making decisions for yourself.

If you have an advance care plan which you have shared with your family, healthcare decision-making is also less stressful for them and your loved ones.

A good place to start is the Advance Care Planning website. There are lots of free resources to help you think about and prepare your advance care plan at: www.advancecareplanning.org.nz (external link) (external link)

Start the conversation

Every Advance Care Plan starts with conversations between you and family members, friends, your family doctor or another health care provider. Discussing with your family and friends now about what level of care you do and do not want in the future will decrease their anxiety. It will also help them to feel confident about your wishes if they have to make decisions on your behalf.

It could be as simple as

  • I was thinking about the future and I was hoping to share my thoughts with you.
  • Even though I am okay right now, I want to be prepared if things get worse. Can you help me with that?

OR

Starting the conversation with family & friends:

  • I want you to be prepared if you had to make decisions on my behalf  
  • I want to make sure you understand and could honour my wishes  
  • I want to talk with you about what is important to me
  • I would like you to go with me to medical appointments
  • I think it’s really important that all of the family understand my wishes

Starting the conversation with a loved one:

  • I want to be prepared if I have to make decisions on your behalf
  • I want to make sure I understand and could honour your wishes
  • I want to hear about what is important to you
  • I would like to go to medical appointments with you so I understand what is going on with your health
  • I think it’s really important we all talk together about this, all of the family and your friends

Starting the conversation with your doctor or another health care provider:

  • What treatments may be offered to me, based on my health, in one, two or five years time?
  • Which of my health conditions are easily treatable?  Which are not?
  • How might the proposed treatments improve or worsen my daily life as I know it now?
  • Will the proposed treatments require time in hospital?  Or can I get those at home?

Why not do an advance care plan now - you may not need it for many, many years, but you’ll be glad you did.

A good place to start is the Advance Care Planning website. There are lots of free resources to help you think about and prepare your advance care plan at: http://www.advancecareplanning.org.nz (external link) .

Advance Care Planning in the Waikato

The Waikato Advance Care Planning Group was formed to progress and embed advance care planning across the Waikato region.

The group consists of health professionals from the Waikato District Health Board, primary health organisations, non-governmental organisations as well as consumers. The group wants everyone in the Waikato to think about advance care planning when they are well, rather than when life changing illness impacts.

This is particularly important if you have a significant change in life circumstances e.g. retirement, have a life-limiting condition, long-term condition or multiple co-morbidities, irrespective of your age or you have an increasing dependence on others for help due to age or ill health.

We are keen to have all GP practices involved, encouraging their patients to consider completing an Advance Care Plan.

Once an Advance Care Plan is completed, it can be kept securely in your GP’s medical centre and can be shared with other health agencies as an alert. It will certainly help those who are treating you if you need to come to the Waikato Hospital Emergency Department or any other Waikato Hospital service.

When you have an Advance Care Plan a doctor will know what is important to you and make your treatment approach clearer and easier to follow.

For further information on Advance Care Planning in the Waikato region discuss with your GP or another health care provider

Other related information and resources on advanced care planning