Launch of new resources to help people plan ahead

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Accessible and user friendly resources have been developed by our Advance Care Planning (ACP) project team to assist community, aged and health care staff highlight the importance of planning ahead for people in their care, particularly those in the early stages of dementia.

Launched by palliative care physician and project lead Professor Meera Agar at The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre in Adelaide on April 6 2017, the resources help health and aged care professionals engage with people who have dementia about the issue of planning ahead and also how to implement ACP across their organisation.
“Our research included interviews with over 80 people with experience in advance care planning in a variety of community, aged and health care settings from across Australia. The resources have also been developed and trialled with a number of organisations”, Prof. Agar explained.

The resources include short videos discussing experiences of planning ahead and why it is important. There are also brochures, which can be used with the person living with dementia, and their carer partner, who may be called on to make decisions when someone can’t do this themselves.

“It is important to have a professional health and aged care workforce who are knowledgeable and skilled in helping older people plan ahead. The community sector, in particular, has an important role to play in raising awareness and encouraging conversations about what matters most in the years ahead,” Prof. Agar said.

Kathy Williams, a CDPC consumer representative from Alzheimer’s Australia, involved in the research and development of resources described the importance of planning ahead for those with dementia and the need to focus on how the person wants to live the rest of their life, rather than just a narrow focus on end-of-life issues.

“I know that for my mum staying in control was really important and early planning helped with this,” Ms Williams said.

A/Prof Josephine Clayton, a palliative care physician at HammondCare and member of the study stakeholder advisory committee, welcomed the resources and the focus on assisting those who have to make decisions for others.

“Making decisions for others can be very stressful. The resources include a pamphlet which can be given to people so they better understand their role. There is also information on how to support a person to make their own decisions as far as possible,” A/Prof Clayton said.

The resources are available from Advance Care Planning page and at www.start2talk.org.au

A pod cast of the launch is also available at Advance Care Planning Needs to be Different for People with Dementia

Sally Grosvenor, CDPC Communications Officer