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Jul 18

Advance health plan may avoid problems

Christine Racar experienced the difficulties caused by not having a care plan in place when her husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS
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Christine Racar experienced the difficulties caused by not having a care plan in place when her husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

RESIDENTS are being encouraged to think about their future before it could be too late.

Grand Pacific Health is reminding people to consider preparing free advanced care plans in the instance they are unable to communicate because of an accident or illness.

In the effort to make this more achievable, Grand Pacific has partnered with Alzheimer’s Australia to initiate the Start2Talk website, which is an online resource to help people plan ahead.

General manager of Grand Pacific Health Linda Livingstone said advanced care planning was about doing the “thinking when well” to best minimise some of the anxieties that occur during a crisis.

“It’s really just having a rational conversation rather then something emotionally charged when in the middle of a crisis,” she said.

“These can be decisions about your thoughts on living in a nursing home, whether or not you want to be resuscitated or even making decision about your house or pets and who would you trust to understand your situation and speak on your behalf if you couldn’t.

“While this is targeted to older people it is very relevant to all age groups and important for most people to give it a little bit of thought.”

Mrs Livingstone said not having a plan in place could add more stress to a situation.

Oak Flats resident Christine Racar experienced these difficulties first-hand when her husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness and died at the age of 56.

“We didn’t have an advance care plan in place as we were both fit and healthy and were expecting to live to an old age,” Ms Racar said.

“This resulted in arguments with family members on what was best for my husband when he was unable to speak for himself.”

She said it was important to start the conversation early.

The Start2Talk website provides information on planning ahead, worksheets, as well as state and territory planning tools to assist in finalising an advance care plan.

It can be found at Start2Talk.org.au.

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