Oncologist Dr. Belinda Yeoh and a patient


Talking about goals, values, and preferences

Anyone can start and promote conversations about a person's preferences for their future health and personal care. If a person ever becomes seriously ill or injured and cannot make or communicate their own decisions, an advance care plan makes sure that their beliefs, values and preferences for treatment are understood and respected. The plan only comes into effect when a person loses the ability to make decisions or express their choices.

An advance care plan can simply be a conversation or it can be written down. A written care plan is the best way to make sure that a person's preferences will be respected.

As a part of their advance care plan, a person can choose a "substitute decision-maker", who would make decisions for the person if they were not able to communicate. If you have to make a decision for another person, the best way to approach this is to try to make the decision the person themselves would have made if they had been able to. This means "standing in the shoes" of the person - seeing the choices to be made from the perspective they would have had. We're here to help you learn how to make your preferences known or support others.

What are the benefits of advance care planning?

Advance care planning benefits everyone:  the person, their family, carers, health professionals and associated organisations.

  • It helps to ensure people receive the care they actually want.
  • It improves ongoing and end-of-life care, along with personal and family satisfaction with care received.
  • Bereaved families of people who have an advance care plan have less anxiety, depression, stress and are more satisfied with care.
  • For healthcare professionals and organisations, it reduces unnecessary transfers to acute care and unwanted treatment.

For more information about advance care planning, please visit our website or call 1300 208 582, 9am - 5pm (AEST) Monday to Friday.