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Home News and media centre News ‘Reclaim your voice’ with Advance care plan

‘Reclaim your voice’ with Advance care plan

National Older Persons Reference Group Member Kate Puls. 

The back of an ambulance is not the place to start thinking about what’s important to you, says National Older Persons Reference Group Member Kate Puls. 

An ambassador for Advance Care Planning Australia for more than a decade, she is encouraging people to put their wishes down in writing during Advance Care Planning Week, which runs until 24 March. 

“Or if that feels like too big a step, at least start the conversation with family and friends,’ Ms Puls says. 

‘For me, it’s about a person’s right to autonomy, a person’s right to decide what they want. 

‘Your voice fades as you get older. This is a chance for you to reclaim it.’ 

Anything from food to medical treatment

An Advance Care Plan can cover anything from the food you like to eat to your cultural beliefs as well as preferences about your lifestyle, care and medical treatment.  

It only comes into effect if you need help making decisions. 

‘You might want to claim dignity of risk or say that you want to remain at home for as long as possible,’ Ms Puls says. 

‘Some people want a minister of religion to visit them – others are very clear they do not. 

‘And I know of one woman who put in something about the care of her nails, because that was very important to her.’ 

Helps you to retain the power

The accompanying Advance Care Directive is a legally binding document that outlines medical treatments or procedures you consent to and medical treatments or procedures you don’t consent to. 

‘It’s a record of what you consider to be an acceptable outcome,’ Ms Puls says.  

‘Because of my background in health care, it’s something I feel passionate about. 

‘Sometimes I saw people have a sad end-of-life when it could have been blissful and dignified and pain-free. 

“An Advance Care Directive helps you to retain the power. 

‘It indicates what matters to you rather than what anyone else – including health care professionals – thinks is a good idea.’ 

More information

Visit our Self-advocacy toolkit to learn more about advance care planning.