Advanced Care Directives

This topic seems to be a taboo subject for everyone and I have no idea why. I’ll explain my viewpoint.
I believe that no-one wants to be the person to make final decisions on the medical treatment of the ones we love. Having worked with a number of families in this situation, I have come to believe that the panic and emotional strain of making life changing decisions for the ones we love when we ourselves are attempting to process the life altering news, we ourselves have just heard, is undeniably everyone’s worst nightmare.
This is where the Advanced Care Directive comes in. This document can be completed at any stage of life. It enables each individual to make their own decisions on what is or isn’t acceptable medical intervention, for them, in the event that they are unable to speak for themselves. 
I equate it in a very simplified manner to making your own choices about the clothes you wear daily or the food you eat. Having those choices made by another person is not only something that undermines your independence, but it can be confronting for the person making the decisions on our behalf, especially if they don’t want to be doing so in the first place.
An Advanced Care directive is a document that stipulates what you would like in the event of you being unable to speak for yourself. What you would find acceptable, both from a medical intervention and from a quality of life perspective. 
Although this is a document that is very personal, it is definitely something that should be discussed with family members/ significant others and completed at a time when everyone is well. I also believe that while yes, it is a serious subject, I believe that a little humour and laughter always makes discussing this difficult subject easier to swallow.
At Phillip Island Health we complete the Advanced Care Directive documents generally over 3 sessions.
Session 1 is the initial consultation, a copy is then printed out for you to take home and discuss with family and write all over, giving you time to process the document and write changes or questions you may have.
Session 2 all questions are answered and the changes are made to the document with your approval.
Session 3 the document is printed and signed by Dr Carol, as well as the patient and a witness.
This then becomes a very useful legal document and a copy should be given to a member of your immediate family or Power of Attorney (medical or enduring). This will assist in ensuring the care you receive when you can’t speak for yourself, is in line with your wishes. Plus having that decision made will then allow family members to just be there to support and love you when you need it most. 
For more detailed information, please click on the link below and feel free to make an appointment to speak with either Dr Carol or myself in relation to completing this form.
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/havetheconversation

By Mel Rose.

For an appointment you can book through www.phillipislandhealth.com.au or through our facebook page or the Hotdoc app.

Published by drcarolhead

Dr. Carol Head is an General Practitioner with over 30 years experience in General Practice and Aboriginal health services. She has a keen interest in holistic medicine and combines her medical knowledge with her passion for writing. She is particularly interested in the body's ability to heal itself and has published two books: "Holistic Medicine" and "Tools for Transformation".

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