Oncologist Dr. Belinda Yeoh and a patient


Planning for future care

If you were very unwell and not able to communicate your preferences to others, who would you want to speak for you? What would you want them to say?

Advance care planning helps to ensure that your loved ones and your doctors know what your health and personal preferences really are. That can give everyone some peace of mind.

Advance care planning can simply be a conversation with a trusted loved one. You can also write down your beliefs, values and preferences or fill in a form relevant to your state or territory. A written plan is known as an advance care plan or advance care directive.

You don't have to be ill to make a plan. Even if you're young and healthy, you should think about your preferences and discuss them with your loved ones, honestly and openly.

The process is simple: think about your values, then discuss them with your family, friends and doctor. You can choose someone to make decisions for you if you are ever unable to do so yourself. That person is known as a 'substitute decision-maker' and they will be your advocate.

You don't have to do all the steps for advance care planning in one go. They can be done over time as you're ready to do them.

Remember that an advance care plan only goes into effect if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. If that time ever comes, your advance care plan will guide your loved ones and doctors so that they can make decisions that respect your values and preferences.

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