Advance Care Planning
Advance care planning is the process of planning for your current and future health care. It captures your values and wishes and will enable your family, loved ones and doctors to make decisions about your care when you can’t. Advance care planning allows you to influence treatment decisions even when you can no longer directly participate in these decisions.
It also allows you to define your end-of-life care and ensures your family and loved ones know your wishes ahead of time, in line with the things that you value most.
Advance care planning starts with conversations with family, loved ones and doctors. Ideally these conversations begin when you are well and then continue throughout our life. If you want to, you can then formalise your advance care plan through an advanced care directive.
Why is this relevant to People Living with HIV who are 50+ (PLHIV50+)?
Advanced care planning is important for all members of the community regardless of HIV status or age. For PLHIV50+, advanced care planning may be more important so your family and loved ones can understand and advocate for your values and preferences.
You may also wish to start advanced care planning if you have an advanced chronic illness or if you are at risk of dementia or a related illness.
Otherwise, you may wish to start advanced care planning so your mind is at ease and your loved ones know how to act on your behalf to arrange appropriate care and treatment.
How to start advanced care planning:
Advanced care planning starts by thinking about your wishes for future care. Whatever your age, you will have values and preferences about your health and care.
Think about what might happen if you couldn’t make decisions about your care for some reason. Do you have views or preferences about your care that you would want your family or doctor to know?
Of the people in your life who are close to you and know you well, consider who you would trust to make decisions for you about the healthcare you receive and your quality of life. What would you like them to consider if they had to make decisions on your behalf?
Once you have begun this process, you can start with an advanced care plan.
Who can help with advanced care planning?
There are a number of resources online that can help you with an advanced care plan.
In the first instance, however, speak with your GP or healthcare provider, otherwise tell a family member or loved one that you would like to arrange an advanced care plan.
They will be able to support you in this process and go through some of the online documentation with you.