People often bounce in and out of hospital in the final years of their life – up to 8 times in their last year of life alone. But why is this the case, and surely it’s not necessary? The truth is, people often don’t have the ongoing care that they would like or need in the community. We explain the reasons behind this and what can you do to avoid it.
Not Making an Advance Care Plan
People often don’t have Advance Care Plans. In 2017 The Australian Productivity Commission released a report that was pretty damning of the state of our end of life care – less than 15% of Australians have an Advance Care Plan. The figures are the same or worse all around the world. But together we can change this by making sure you and your family all complete an Advance Care Plan that includes the care you want for you.
Hospitals and residential aged care facilities
Hospitals and Residential Aged Care Facilities may often have a lack of staff trained in palliative care and/or Advance Care Plans. Staff can be overworked and exhausted, without enough time to discuss your individual needs, or those of your loved ones. This is why it is important to take the time ahead of time to think about what you would like, discuss it with those people caring for you or likely to make decisions about you, and make sure your wishes are clear for others to see and access in an emergency. If you make your choices with an Advance Care Plan you will avoid your family having to “plan on the run” inside a busy hospital ward. And you will avoid mistakes being made about the direction you want your care to take.
Fear and denial
Fear is incredibly powerful. The truth is many of us are fearful of talking about dying. We will make a will that benefits other people. We will plan a funeral that benefits those who know us. But we won’t make an Advance Care Plan that benefits us. With Touchstone Life Care we help you look after yourself. We take away the uncertainty and make things clear. We break down the medical jargon into words you can understand. And we describe scenarios to illustrate what sort of choices you can make. So you can make your values and preferences known, using specific examples to help make things clear. No medicine can prevent denial. But Touchstone Life Care can help take away the fear and help you start talking about you. Here are some practical hints about how to start talking about you. Other ways you can talk about your wishes in a safe, non-fearful way are at death cafes, with group events, and even death festivals. Check out our Calendar of Events here to see what’s on near you.
Leaving A Legacy
As we are talking honestly about preparing for death and dying, think about the legacy you want to leave, and the memories you are making now and in the future. How we die is part of our legacy and lives on in the lives of those we leave behind. So plan for what you can. Make life and death easier for you and your loved ones with an Advance Care Plan that tells others about you, what is important to you, and helps leave the legacy you would like.