A quality end-of-life care plan will play a vital role in reducing the burden of decision-making. It allows the individual and their families to maintain control over how they spend their final days, months and years. For many people, their primary wish is to remain in their own home during this time.
Many Australians spend their final years living with complex medical conditions and lifestyle-limiting disabilities that can place a lot of stress and strain on the individual and their loved ones.
We are fortunate to live in a world where medical advancements are resulting in interventions that can prolong the lives of the ill and the elderly, however it is vital that quality of life is the central focus. There may well be times when life-prolonging treatments are simply not appropriate, and this highlights the importance of planning.
At Newcastle and Hunter Community Health (NHCH), our number one priority is to ensure that you and your loved ones are receiving the end-of-life care specific to your individual needs to maintain quality of life and dignity during this time.
Advance care planning
Serious illness or injury can happen to anyone at any time, but planning is particularly important in circumstances such as when a person:
- has an advanced chronic illness, life-limiting illness or has a new significant diagnosis
- is aged 75 years or older (55 years if they are an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person, is a resident of or is about to enter an aged care facility
- does not have an appropriate family member, caregiver or friend who could act as a substitute decision-maker
Advance care planning is a process where a person discusses their healthcare preferences with their family, friends and healthcare team. Ideally the result with be a formal Advanced Care Directive, sometimes referred to as a living will, outlining the person’s beliefs and values, and any specific instructions they want followed if they lose the capacity to make or express their preferences.
To learn more about the legal side of an Advance Care Directive visit Advanced Care Planning Australia’s website.
It’s important to note that in order to make an Advance Care Directive or to appoint a substitute decision-maker, a person must have the capacity to understand the decisions facing them, the possible options available and their outcomes, be able to understand and retain the information and communicate their decision. Loss of capacity is the trigger to act on an Advance Care Directive.
NHCH’s role in end of life care is to provide the help and support to our clients and their loved ones live as comfortably as possible. This can involve general household services like cleaning and lawn maintenance, personal care such as assistance with bathing and dressing, and assistance with nutrition, hydration and meal preparation.
Our highly experienced team of nurses are also available to work in partnership with a client’s specialist Palliative care team to provide any necessary medical support.
We are here to help with any enquiries because we know the value of having a quality end-of-life care plan that puts you first and lets you be the one in control.
Please call NHCH on 4920 1637 at any time to discuss your needs or those of your loved ones.