Advance care planning

Advance Care Planning

An 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.

Why not do an Advance Care Plan now?

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.

Another good website is Te Hokinga ā Wairua End of Life Service - it covers advanced care planning as well as a practical guide for people facing the loss of someone close to them and what to do in the days, weeks and months following a death.

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 saying:

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?