Advance care planning is an important part of Australia’s COVID-19 healthcare planning. The Australian Health Management Plan for Pandemic Influenza 2019 cites the importance of Advance Care Directives as part of a coordinated response. However, current research demonstrates that only 25% of older Australians aged 65+ years have documented their preferences in an Advance Care Directive. Despite this, individuals often report benefits in doing advance care planning.
Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) provides the following advice to healthcare providers and sectors across Australia.
National advance care planning advice is available via the National Advisory Services 1300 208 582, 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday (AEST) and/or ACPA Learning hub.
Advance Care Planning Australia is urging aged care providers to include advance care planning in their management of COVID-19. Aged care providers have obligations under the Aged Care Quality Standards. Standard 2. Requirement (2)(b) specifies that assessment and planning identifies and addresses the consumer’s current needs, goals and preferences, including advance care planning and end of life planning if the consumer wishes.
ACPA recommends aged care providers encourage aged care recipients with decision making capacity to:
- think about and discuss their future health care preferences with loved ones and their treating medical practitioner
- identify their substitute decision-maker(s). Appoint these when relevant and make this known to their treating medical practitioner or service
- make existing Advance Care Directive documents available and store in their health record
- document their preferences and acceptable / unacceptable outcomes (e.g. CPR, ventilation, loss of independence) in an Advance Care Directive