People know about most things they’re supposed to do in preparing for end of life. Write a will, get the finances in order. But what happens if you become incapacitated, or your health deteriorates slowly? This is where many people are not prepared, leaving your life and death decisions up to your family and doctors.

What is an Advance Care Plan?

In short, it’s the most important document you’ve never heard of. An Advance Care Plan, also known as an Advance Care Directive or Living Will, is a document that tells others about the quality and type of medical care you would prefer at the end of your life or in the event that you’re unable to speak or communicate; for example in dementia, terminal illness, sudden accidents, heart attacks, etc.

An Advance Care Plan consists of  three things:

  1. A written document that informs others of your wishes.
  2. The names of your substitute decision makers.
  3. Conversations with those substitute decision makers so they know and understand your wishes. Along with doctors, they will put your Advance Care Plan into action if you cannot speak for yourself.

 

Why do I need one?

 

 

In a medical emergency, you may not be able to speak or communicate, so doctors and family may need to make decisions for you. Your Advance Care Plan guides your family and doctors to care for you and make decisions the way you want them to. It’s about being organised and thoughtful about what’s important to you and defining your minimum quality of life. It’s also about making sure when you depart you don’t leave emotional chaos behind in this difficult time.

 

What might happen if I don’t have an Advance Care Plan?

If you’re unable to speak for yourself, those making decisions may not know what to do. Not planning means you’re risking getting care against your wishes, or your family going through the trauma of wondering whether they made the right decision for you. All of this is avoided with Advance Care Plans.

 

What are the benefits for me?

Touchstone Life Care’s Advance Care Plan has quickly become the plan of choice because it is so easy to use and personalised for you. You have the choice to create a digital plan in less than 10 mins. Once complete, you can print it or email your own PDF copy to your loved ones or personal doctor. You can even update it at any time and share the latest version. Paper-based versions are also available if you prefer to complete your plan by hand.

 

A plan that has been formulated with your up-to-date medical information, and discussed ahead of time will minimise family conflict and assist the treating medical team to act in accordance with your wishes during a sudden deterioration or crisis.

How do I get one?

The Touchstone Life Care process is far more comprehensive and personal than booking a one-off appointment with a solicitor or writing a plan with no medical or legal guidance and no disclosure to any relatives. Touchstone Life Care’s Advance Care Plan has quickly become the plan of choice because it is so easy to use and personalised for you. You have the choice to create a digital plan in less than 10 mins. Once complete you can print it or email your own PDF copy to your loved ones or personal doctor. You can even update it at any time and re-share the latest version. Paper-based versions are also available if you prefer to complete your plan by hand. Check with your doctor or lawyer if there are special requirements for witnessing, or additional forms specific to where you are in Australia or the world.

 

What happens if I start but don’t finish the questionnaire?

 

You can pause your questionnaire at any time and return to it later when you have thought more about things. You can flag a question you’re unsure of, make a note and ask your GP or nurse about it. The best thing is the way it prompts you to think about some medical situations you may not have considered. One at a time. In the privacy and safety of your own home. You have the time to stop, think, research, maybe change your mind a few times. There’s no pressure.

 

How much does it cost? (It’s free!)

In an age where everything costs money – prescriptions, insurances, doctors appointments, it turns out one of the things which can have the most impact on your quality of life is actually 100% free. If you don’t have an Advance Care Plan yet, click here now to complete our easy questionnaire. It generally takes less than 10 minutes. Doing your Advance Care Plan is something anyone can and should do. So get started now.