Advanced Care Planning
An Advanced Care Directive is a form to let family and doctors know what medical care to provide or not provide you, if you were so unwell that you were unable to make your owndecisions! Here I explain why I think filling out one of these forms is a great idea.
Medicine has become so advanced, that a sick person can be kept alive even when major organs and bodily systems are failing. We can prop up failing hearts, kidneys and digestive systems way beyond when meaningful quality of life is possible.
Whilst this is marvellous in some ways especially when a good health outcome may be ultimately possible, the reality is that doctors are not very good at letting things take their natural course. Because of their training and culture they often have the sense that they should treat or manage health conditions sometimes even to the point of futility.
In Australia, on a state-by-state basis, there is now available an Advanced Medical Directive form, that you can fill out with your doctor. In it you can express your preferences for quality of life, what outcomes would be acceptable and what outcomes would be unacceptable to you, and to what extent you would want your life prolonged.
Obviously this is a sensitive and confronting process but in the event that you should have severe illness, an Advanced Medical Directive will provide valuable guidance to your family and your doctors. So whether you are currently suffering from a serious illness or even if you are well, taking a moment to fill out one of these forms is a most worthwhile activity.
These forms and the process are discussed in details in the latest familydoctor.expert video.
Last Updated 31 July 17
Heres a link to an example template for an Advanced Care Directive