Supporting everyone to be healthy and live well

Advanced Care Planning

Contact Details

Hours: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Location: Social Services, Echuca Regional Health
Phone: 03 5485 5800

What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance care planning involves thinking about, discussing with your family and close friends, and possibly documenting what types of health care you may or may not wish to receive – if you become seriously ill and/or unable to speak for yourself.  It also makes things easier for your family by preventing confusion and conflict over medical decision making.  It is about people taking control of their health care wishes now and in the future.  This is especially relevant near the end of life.  This means your specific treatment wishes as well as your goals, values and beliefs are known and can be respected by health providers and those closest to you.
Ideally advance care planning involves:

  • Appointing a person, known as a substitute decision maker, who can make health care decisions for you if you are too unwell to do this for yourself
  • Writing your wishes down in an advance care directive, sometimes known as a “living will”.

Who should consider Advance Care Planning?

All adults may wish to consider advance care planning.  It is however, especially relevant for people with a chronic illness such as lung or heart disease, the healthy elderly and people with other serious and life threatening illnesses such as dementia, cancer and stroke.  While well and health, it can be hard to think about treatments that might never be required, but like can change in an instant and difficult medical decisions may need to be made about you.  For example, what if you were involved in a car accident, suffered a brain injury and were not going to make a full recover.  If you were unable to make medical decisions when needed, who would you like to speak for you and what should they decide?  These are the benefits of advance care planning.

What steps are involved with Advance Care Planning?

Advance Care Planning can involve all or some of the following steps:

  • Think about your past health experiences
  • Think about your beliefs, goals and values that are important in your life.
  • Think about your current health and possible future health problems.
  • Think about what you would want from future medical care.
  • Talk to your family and those close to you about these issues.
  • Talk to your doctor.
  • Choose a medical treatment decision maker to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do this for yourself – in Victoria this is best done by appointing a Support Person and/or Medical Treatment Decision Maker (who becomes your agent).
  • Meet with your agent and an Advance Care Planning Facilitator.
  • Work with the Advance Care Planning Facilitator and your agent to write down your preferences in an Advance Care Directive.
  • Provide copies of your Advance Care Plan to your family, your agent, hospital and local doctor and anyone else who you feel is appropriate.
  • Review your plan as circumstances change.

Advance Care Planning documents are only ever referred to if you are unable to communicate or make informed decisions.
The original Advance Care Planning documents are held by you with copies held with Echuca Regional Health, your Support Person, your Medical Treatment Decision Maker, your GP and other applicable health care facilities and doctors you wish to provide copies to.

We recommend that they are stored in a safe but easily accessible, with a photocopy attached to your fridge so that Ambulance paramedics can easily access your Advance Care Plan when needed.

Then there are two ways to proceed:

  • Talk to your General Practitioner or Pactice Nurse about completing the Advance Care Planning process.
  • Contact Social Services at Echuca Regional Health on 0354855800 and ask to speak with someone about Advance Care Planning.


External Links

Departments and Services Outpatient Services and ERH at Home Advanced Care Planning